Saturday, 19 January 2013

Cloudburst and Sunburst

Here's the cloudburst approaching from the south, a couple of days ago.  It was due to hit Wellington in the morning, then lunchtime - it finally arrived about two o'clock and my son was waiting for it on the south coast.  He said when the southerly wind hit, it was like a blast from a deep freeze and then the rains pelted down.  It reached my house shortly afterwards and the thunder and lightening rolled around for hours,  I think that's the ferry [click the picture to enlarge] on its way to the South Island.......

I've decided to hang up my teaching notes - though I shall continue to teach at the prison - but my five inch squares class has had its last outing, and I would like to share with you the rest of the ideas I had that made up the class.  I can't promise they are original but you might get some fun trying out different things.

So to the Sunburst quilt which was made from a pattern called Frolicking Triangles - not sure where it came from but this is what I did with it.

First the plan -

As you can see it starts off as two squares, right side together, mark the dotted lines which is where you sew, then cut on the solid line - this used to cause some confusion as usually we sew on the main diagonal but we need one large and one smaller half square triangle.

Here's the fabric marked and sewn -

Two more lines are needed to be marked in the lower left of the fabric so you will get one larger half square triangle and four small ones.

The small square needs to be supplied and for my quilt I chose a fabric with many colours to cut up for this square and used lots of different fabrics for the main piece.

Here's the hairy sample block -

Once I had the blocks made I started playing with them - as you do!

You can see the original inspiration fabric where the four small squares meet -

And here are some more -

Then the border had to be chosen, at first I went for the multi colour fabric - but it was yuk! completely swamped the whole thing.  I then found [in my stash] another fabric with the same colours but in a smaller pattern.  I finished it off with another batik which seemed to hold it in!

I am working on holding the camera level [or making a better job of the editing!]

It's been a busy week with office work and then having my granddaughter to stay - she washed my car! and it was her suggestion! wow!  We enjoyed watching "Modern Family", a dvd set I received for Christmas - I love that show, find it real laugh aloud.  Molly also sorted out lots of squares for me to use, together with some plain fabric, to make a couple of checkerboard quilts so they are on the top of the pile of the "to do" stitching - oh yes, she also used my old hand operated Singer to make a mug rug!

Thanks for stopping by, and I leave you with this thought from Lucille Ball - "The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age."  I love it!!

Till next time

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Short cut, sewing and the seaside

I was wrong with my description of the last photo from my son, it wasn't time lapse, it - like the one now - is taken with a very long exposure.

So here's the seaside as you don't usually see it, the underside of Petone Wharf -

That's the city lights of Wellington in the distance - click on the image to get an enlargement.

The short cut is another of the blocks from my class - I tend to look at all blocks, especially those with many pieces and break them down; this one was crying out for simplification.

It's meant to be square, probably distorted with the photocopying; you can see there is a large half square triangle, and two blocks which are the first step in making four patch from the squares - sew down opposite sides and cut in the middle and when you are making a scrap quilt two the same will get lost if you don't want them in the same block.

That leaves the patch top left which is a half square triangle re-cut -

In an earlier blog I showed how I rearrange the pieces with the little triangles either side of one of the small squares, well this time it's a bit like a funny rabbit if you tilt your head to the left.......

You can see the instructions divide the block into dark and medium, which was no problem to those of us who have little boxes filled with squares of different colours and values.  I simply removed the dark square and replaced it with one of medium value - and put the dark one into another box for later use.

Here's another part of the top 

 And here's the finished top - you will appreciate there are  lots of ways this particular block could have been put together, it just seemed happy when I did it this way.

I came across this photo recently of some embroideries I did, I think these were part of the class at the Wellington High School - for adults I hasten to add.

There's the obligatory hexagon cushion made from Indian cottons, the cross stitch tray cloth and drawn thread table cloth - the same one my granddaughter recently spilt her bolognaise on - which washed out no trouble.  Two glasses cases, the one on the left made from variegated wool so the pattern came from the actual wool, and the other is showing the colours of Norfolk Island where we spent some very happy holidays.  

The pincushion cube is a favourite, I made another but was foolish enough to put some rosemary leaves out of the garden in with the stuffing - and there must have been insects with the plant matter and they ate their way out!!  Unfortunately the photo is not good of the baby picture; we were given the task of making a frame for such a photo, so this is needle lace around a photo of my niece - supposed to be showing her surrounded by a blanket of love.......

I did some more weeding today, after even a little rain it is so much easier but I still have to cut back the wallflower and the geranium and the bay's neverending!

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see." - John Burroughs - I so agree with the man!

Thanks for your comments and emails
Take care

Friday, 11 January 2013

Churn Dash and Cross Patch

How's this for giving a lie to the theory that Wellington is always windy!!
No, I lie!  This photo was taken by my son from the Petone Beach using time lapse - makes the sea appear so calm and almost milky.

I thought I would share with you another block from my class for five inch squares.  I have been tidying up the sewing room [again!], re-folded the pile of twenty two tops with their backings waiting to be quilted :) also re-folded the vintage yardage and put the larger scraps into one of those fold down mesh bags sold in chain stores because I thought I might use those for a Cross Patch quilt.......

This is the block

I've seen it as a quilt, set on point and it was most effective.  One weekend I was at a Retreat and across the room I saw a friend cut little squares and little strips to piece this.  I thought there must be an easier way, so I suggested she sew the strip onto one side, cut it in half, resew it, sew on another strip cut and resew - you know, she just sat and looked at me as though I were speaking a foreign language.

My friend, who was a lab technician, sat down and drew up what I had just said - and I use that page as my instructions to this day!

So, take the square, in this case an eight inch one and sew a one and a quarter strip along one side -

Measure in from the raw edge, in this case four inches and slice parallel to the strip,

Sew this piece to the strip - the observant among you will notice the fabric miraculously changes colour!

Sew another strip along one of the sides at right angles to the first one

Again, cut four inches from the raw edge and resew the cut off piece onto the strip

Bingo, it's changed colour again - and this one is actually made from a five inch square, using a three quarter inch strip

I'm toying with the idea of using white with the vintage, so many of them have white backgrounds - or maybe different colours, and I haven't yet re-folded the pile of tops without their backings, but I did sweep the floor which made the whole place look good!

I've always loved the Churn Dash block and one weekend I dug out a pile of dark, plain fabrics scraps and had great fun putting them together.  I remember how enjoyable it was to hear Roberta Horton talking of the Amish quilts when she visited NZ many years ago.

It's also been many years since I last made any sort of New Year's Resolution, but I remember vividly when this thought hit me with great relevance - "Only I can change my life.  No one can do it for me." Carol Burnett.  

Thanks for stopping by, 
We'll talk again soon - take care

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Sand, strings and squares

And here's the sand, photo taken by my son on a beach near Dargerville, Bayley's Beach I think.  What amazing colours - but then with my love of orange I would think that.....

The strings on the hanger have been tugging at me lately, these are the ones I cut with a strip of plastic before the days of proper marked rulers, they are 3cm which makes it a bit awkward for cutting more now, but I solved the problem by using one of the Qtools Cutting Edges - a repositionable [I didn't think this was a word, but it's there on the wrapping!] strip of plastic which I applied on the underside of the ruler, so when I slide the ruler towards the fabric it stops with the correct measurement against the  pretty (orange) strip.  I hope you follow that ......

I decided to take a random bunch of strips and join end to end, a la jelly roll -

Quite an eclectic mix, so I joined a whole lot then bottom to top I sewed into a strip of two and then into a strip of four - which I then cut into squares, put into some order and thought about borders.

The two squares that were the odd ones out I put into the corners, decided this was too pale, so

I beefed it up a bit with the blue and it's another for the hospital.  I think this technique has possibilities using different length or width of strips,

Some while ago I showed some plaid squares I bought in the UK on my last trip, and one day the mood was right, so I started joining them, at random - just any two had to be of different value - until I had my nine patches then I played with them on the design wall with alternate squares from my plaid stash

More jiggling or juggling was required -

A few more tweaks and on went the border

All ready for a gentleman, or his dog, I think!

And talking of tweaking, either you didn't notice, or were too polite to tell me, but the last top I showed - the one using the left overs from the Marriage Quilt - had a mistake.  I kept looking at the last two photos on my blog and something wasn't right - then I picked up the quilt and, sure enough, the bottom row was on the wrong way!

The blocks were supposed to follow the colours diagonally - and now they do!

And as I head off to more stitching, I want to thank you for your comments - and share with you this thought,"Old minds are like old horses: you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order." John Adams - not that I'm saying I'm old, it's just something to bear in mind for when that happens!

We'll talk again soon, take care

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Front and Frog

A few days ago we had some weird weather - well, let's be honest the weather in Wellington has been weird for weeks - anyway, there were lots of warnings about a front approaching from the south - that means cold winds here in the Antipodes.  My son had gone over the hill to the Wairarapa and in case he hadn't heard the warnings I sent a text about the front..... [I know, it's time I stopped trying to mother him!!]

This is what he was photographing which meant he had to run off the beach to avoid being drenched.  What glorious colours!

I have been enjoying some piecing after I came across this amongst my fabrics - which I think is another tray cloth

I did rather wonder if one of my sons had produced it at school but they denied the suggestion, as did my granddaughters, so possession being nine points of the law.........  I decided to use the block called "No seams match",  which I have used in the past to good effect.

I found several fabrics amongst the vintage scraps that looked good - but had an oops when I ironed one - look at that shrinkage!

I found other fabrics to use

In case you haven't used this block before, there are five squares each with a rectangle on one side, three of these are joined alternating direction and the other two units have a long strip along one edge to complete the block.  The last time I made this block I used lots of different fabrics but this time it seemed to go better using a limited number.  The blocks were the right size in height so I added a couple of strips of vegetable fabric to the width.

 I then auditioned various fabrics for the border and finally selected a simple two colour

Everything not used then went into a pieced back

I think it would make a fun table cloth - just needs putting into a sandwich and as Mrs C reminded me, tying is often more than enough.

I shall close today with another of my glass pin cushions, which bears a startling resemblance to Stitch, the character from the Lilo & Stitch film.  I think I bought it in Carterton, ages ago - wonder how old it is?

Did I mention that I used to play golf? It's one of the only two games I can really be bothered watching nowadays, the other is cricket [yes, well......for those non locals, our national team is having a few problems at present ] if pay tv would let me I would just get one channel to watch both games,  - anyway, I had to stop playing when I had an ankle injury and I'm now so unfit I couldn't bear not to be the good player I used to be [or thought I was!]  This is leading up to the quote for the day - "Sports do not build character.  They reveal it." by Heywood.

Thank you for all your comments
Take care and we'll talk again soon