Thursday, 30 August 2012

Bird, beach and birthdays

How's this for trust?  That's my late husband's hand - found the old photo and couldn't resist sharing it.

The days have been rushing by - you know how it is sometimes, one's best laid plans can go out the window so easily.  I've never been one to turn down an offer of lunch, or a coffee - or a plea for help for that matter........ and so the days pass.

I've been toying with the idea of making a family photo quilt - as though I didn't have enough ideas to keep me busy! - so I had a go at printing onto fabric - I think I need more practice -

The lady on the left is my mother when she was in her mid twenties I think and the one on the right is of me and big sister - I'm with my back to the camera in case you wondered!  We were  playing on the sea defences of one of the 'big houses' right on the beach [we lived on the south coast of the UK] and this would have been taken just before the start of WWII; the beaches were closed for the duration.  I'm sure my sister would love to be immortalised in this way!

Now the next photo is another of my son - similar to the one I took of him recently at Lake Ferry but this was many years ago on a family holiday on Norfolk Island.  If I still did serious embroidery this would be an interesting subject, come to that I've seen quilts made like this......

Taken I think at Slaughter Bay........

I have been doing some stitching, knitting too more of the peggy squares, and have finally finished another flimsy that I pieced in the nineties when I was living in Whitby and stitching with friends, the same time that I made the Ikat in the Contrary Wife pattern.

For this one we agreed on the Delectable Mountain block, any size and colour but it had to have some of a fat quarter we bought to share - this was one of the series produced by the Smithsonian to celebrate - not sure what, so here is my piece of the fabric - it's the very dark grey, almost black next to the deep purple.

You can see here the whole block; I used a constant fabric in the small triangles - another one I bought for dressmaking; it was to have been a summer skirt.  I didn't want the points to be too stark so used soft colours with another constant in the square at the top, which was hand dyed in a manner that made me think the maker had used the fabric to mop up the splashes!

That's not meant as a criticism, I love the fabric!

I also love the batik I used for the setting triangles - how lucky was that to have it in my stash!

At this stage I hadn't finished the hand sewing of the binding but took advantage of a visit by my granddaughter who held it up for me.

One thing I have found since I had to reduce the size of the photos I use is that they load far faster - duh! but it makes a big difference to the time taken to produce the blog - should be able to do so more often......

I get funny looks in stores when I take photos of odd things, but this marble app is so much fun -

So to finish today, it is appropriate that I share my little bundle of daffodils

and leave you with this quotation from Brittany Murphy, "Everybody has difficult years, but a lot of times the difficult years end up being the greatest years of your whole entire life, if you survive them."

Is that what one would call cold comfort?

Thanks for stopping by and for your comments, they mean a lot!


Friday, 17 August 2012

Blossom time

Remember this time last year we had snow? well, it was pretty grey yesterday when I walked from the office along Jackson Street to the Post Office - and on the way saw this as a huge burst of colour.  And I swear it wasn't there two days ago - so spring, perhaps a trifle waterlogged, but spring nevertheless is on the way!

Some time ago I showed my ikat top that I made when I was stitching with a group over in Whitby.

I enjoyed our weekly sessions, though for a while we seemed to be doing very little stitching, so one day I got out a favourite basket and put into it a blue and gold batik type fabric.  Then I took out from my stash every fabric I thought would go with it and gradually over the week filled the basket.

When I got to the meeting I plonked it in the middle of the floor and asked for help to decide what block I should use for a quilt - we had such fun.  Magazines and books appeared, and paper & pencil while we discussed ways and means.

I didn't actually use the suggested block, but a while later Capital Quilters had a weekend of classes so I went along with my basket of fabric and joined the Zig Zag quilt class.

I got this far in the class -

So I finished it at home - it's a bit large for my design wall -

Here's a close up of the bottom border which shows the fabric I started with -

Then, all the bits left over were joined together for the back -

Now it has joined the pile of flimsies waiting to be quilted........

I've been having a bit of a play with an old pattern, I think it was a block of the month for one of the clubs,

The original instructions were to cut two squares of a certain size and divide each one to give the four triangles.  But looking at the block that would mean bias seams at the edges, which I do not like if I can avoid it - so I cut a larger square and divided it in four - you can see my elegant diagram at the right.

Then I played around with different sizes, I think it has possibilities - maybe could be used instead of a plain square in a nine or four patch, then I played a litte more and put the spokes going in the other direction and used two fabrics for them, and then doubled up on one 'arm' -

My quote today is, "The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards."  Arthur Koestler

Thanks for stopping by

Friday, 10 August 2012

What's new Pussy Cat?

That's the name of the quilt I want to share with you, but it could also apply to dear Basil who keeps an eye on me from one of his favourite positions on the back of the leather couch.

And just to prove that I am not totally divorced from the plethora of sport on the television these days, I will show a photograph taken several years ago when we lived in Roseneath.  You can imagine with this view, you have seen it several times, we took thousands of photographs - the whole scene changed from minute to minute.  You can see that from this photo

The snap was taken one club day when all the yachts moored in Evans Bay were hoping for some good sailing; they were becalmed for ages and then the southerly started, and off they went.

The quilt is made from five inch squares, what else?, you start with two made into half square triangles,

Trim to 4.5 inches, layer them right sides together, dark over light, and draw a line down the middle, sew a quarter of an inch either side of the line.  I've put pins in so you can see you get the mirror images

Oops, I had a slight accident and loped off one corner - do not do this!!

Sewn together the block looks like this -

and I put them together like this - but there are several variations you could do.  The block looks good for a border too.

the title came about because I used a couple of cat fabrics - original I'm not!

I went to the Wellington Guild meeting last night, had a most enjoyable time looking at the bags members had made for the big challenge - I can't share any photos yet, don't want to steal the thunder of the committee and their publicity.  The bags were judged by Nada Piatek, and I will just say that she has excellent taste - I picked her winner as my viewer's choice!

The fabric is cut for Molly's bag, so I shall start on that over the weekend.

I leave you with a sporting quote, "It is what you learn after you know it all that counts." by John Wooden who is a US basketball coach.

Thanks for stopping by

Monday, 6 August 2012

Great site for a coffee cart!

Maybe not up to the standard of my son's photography yet it shows something of the beauty of the harbour - Wellington city is at the extreme left - and the dark shadow is made by the coffee cart my friend and I will be stopping at in the morning to pick up refreshments for our stitching session.

I shall be cutting out the bag for one of my granddaughters, probably not hand sewing the binding of a quilt I have just finished because it is too late to start machining it on tonight.  I could also be carrying on with the baby blocks, or hand quilting the cot quilt or knitting more squares........ never any shortage of things to do, is there?

Probably the next top to be quilted will be my High Summer, made as an example of ways to use half square triangles as part of my 5" squares class.

I made the blocks by using four pairs of squares of similar tone and colour, then did a sew and flip with a small square on the seam end of the new square, one colour for the centre and a different colour for the outside,

I soon realised I wanted half blocks, didn't really like the blobby look otherwise.

I made the half blocks and then found the perfect border - a fabric I bought to make a blouse, would you believe?

That colour is better, it was looking somewhat washed out in the earlier photos

The next quilt is another from the prison, and by coincidence it was made by the same person who made the moon and star quilt I showed last time.  It goes to show how difficult it is to match four or five different pinks, but use twenty or more, and it works just fine!

The maker had embroidered some names on the borders of the central square and in my effort to mask them I have smudged the fabric, sort of.  My apologies.  I love the little applique hearts too.

I knew there was a reason I have so many works in progress - or flimsies as I believe some people call tops - the quote for today is "A finished person is a boring person."  Anna Quindlen

Thanks for stopping by and for your comments - I have been told the plant I was questioning is indeed a euphorbia, there are many varieties.  I think I shall search some out next time I visit a garden centre but only after I have done some weeding.......


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

SIS Quilts, a coffee mug, and a query

First the query - please what is this plant?  I think it's rather lovely, standing up for itself amongst the deadly nightshade and other weeds.

I seem to remember buying some euphorbia last year which I planted somewhere around this part of the garden but I'm sure the picture didn't look like this.

I came across this next photo recently and wanted to share it with you, it reminds me of a most enjoyable class I went to with Keiko Goke all about free cut log cabin blocks.  Right up my alley, I had a ball using some bright patterned fabrics.  We made the blocks, joined them then cut them into the shape of a basket complete with handle.

When I put mine down on the floor, I realised it looked so much better tilted to one side, with the handle not on the top, but on one side - and hey presto, there is my coffee mug.

There were others in the class who confessed to having great difficulty cutting freehand and sewing seams that were not exactly straight!

Now I want to share a couple of quilts from the women in the Arohata Women's Prison quilting programme, the Shut-in Stitchers as they are known.  I have their permission to share the photos.

Attic Window for a child -

With those lovely deep windows, a child might feel it could crawl into the picture!

The next quilt was only the second that T. made and it's for her mother.  Notice the influence of the Attic Window -

The moon and star were appliqued onto the checkerboard background; it's a large quilt and has been machine quilted - I think you'll agree the maker has considerable artistic talent.

Lately there have been many natural disasters but it is comforting to know that, in the depths of the countryside, we have directions for getting to safety in the event of a tsunami -

It's pretty much a given that you wouldn't go towards the beach..........

How true this is, "Not what man knows but what man feels, concerns art.  All else is science." Bernard Berenson

Thanks for stopping by, nice talking with you.