Sunday, 29 September 2013

Spring, slide and stars

Doesn't this just say spring?  Beautiful daffodils - and an uncertain sky, photo taken by Phil a week or two ago on a trip into the Wairarapa.

And slide - well this I think is another example of a quilt in waiting,

while the view down the slide makes my stomach flip, even now!

These were taken, by Phil, of course at Island Bay in the playground - and how about the tunnel?

Almost a halloween design?

At a recent meeting of Pinestream Quilters there was an amazing display of work - this one took my eye as something far removed from quilts I make, I forgot to ask what the inspiration was.

And now, a blast from the past - another of the blocks/techniques from my Five inch squares class; the sew and flip method of making a star - I love this one -

I like the idea of using this block, dotted through the background of all dark blocks - the stars really pop.

The method is tried and true, two strips at right angles -

draw a line for the first line of stitching, then I always stitch another towards the corner - far enough away to give safe seam allowances, then cut between for the extra half square triangle.

This results in a very scrappy quilt but one that works providing there is sufficient contrast in value.

The Woven star is another block that works well with this technique -

I have been doing some actual stitching, my Mile-a-minute is a completed top - and I've chosen the backing too!

Three rows joined to the left and the backing, almost large enough on its own.

A fair amount of sewing went into this top! - and all because I wanted to use up the bits left over from when a friend cut out hexagons......

In the end I added another row so this is how it ended up -

and I still have a bag full of strings.......

I'll leave you with another sunset - taken at  Palliser Bay recently - you can't have too many sunsets! and the thought, "The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been", Madeline L'Engle

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Surfers, squares and Shut-ins

Phil put this on his Facebook page with the message that he had been out hunting sunsets on the Wainui coast the previous evening when the sun disappeared behind a big dark cloud - but the locals didn't seem to care!

Here are another two quilts made by Desdemona - well they are tops as yet but I showed them to a recent meeting, took the photos so I can give one to her.  The first one is a pattern she saw in one of the magazines we take in, it was shown as a wall hanging so she adapted it -

Very pretty and spring like, don't you think?  The second one is not yet complete, it will be larger but shows how she is prepared to try different patterns.

The block from my class I want to talk about is the square in a square, a tried and true favourite in many disguises; using five inch squares, it can come out like this

The centre square is cut at four inches, the pale one at four and a half then cut into four quarters, diagonally then I used two four inch squares, cut once on the diagonal so the straight of grain comes on the outer edge of the block - also using corners of different value can add interest to the setting.

Then I came across a rather odd technique to make a unit for use in several different blocks;  take two squares at four and a half inches and sew them together, right sides facing, round all four sides -

The instructions said to then slit one of the squares - well, I couldn't do that with any accuracy, so I cut the square diagonally into four, as you can see from the photo, pinned them together and then sewed around the outer edge.

When opened out it looks like this -

Next you need to take two four and a half inch squares, cut once each on the diagonal and join around the outside.

No, that's not a mistake - cutting off the corners of the first square I mean - can you see the faint chalk lines? well the whole purpose is to cut the whole thing in four for this unit -

That's just folded in half to show what it would look like -oops, it has to be folded again - no photo, but I'm sure you get the general idea! and as yet I've not made a quilt using this technique.........

I'm having problems with another top - remember the bright and white strippy?

I started quilting it by hand, but didn't like it - so I unpicked that quilting and tried again by machine, did four blocks and hated it! so, that was unpicked and I have now remade it into a sandwich using a different batting and am once more hand quilting it - the batting is much harder to quilt through, I think it's Warm and Natural....... I'll see how I go, funny how some quilts resist me - I shall have to take a leaf out of Ann's book [she who won the Great British Sewing Bee] and talk firmly to it!!

Today has been another glorious Spring? day, clear, calm - and bitterly cold!  very much like the day when Phil took these photos of Oriental Bay; I have shown you the ones of the old Band Rotunda taken actually on it, well here are two from the beach, the first from one side -

The same low, dark clouds are around and Petone, where I live, is over the harbour, past the point and keep going....

The setting sun and St Gerard's Monastery on top of the hill - great city I think.

Thanks for stopping by, no words of wisdom today - just, Go Team New Zealand!!!


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Sky scrapers! and Log Cabins

How many storeys does a building need to be considered a sky scraper?.....looked at from ground level all buildings are I suppose - anyway, son Phil went into Wellington city one afternoon and had a wander around The Terrace and took photos that I think are almost blueprints for a quilt...

What do you think?  Blue, black and white.....    How about a variation?

Lovely subtle shades and just a hint of red; lots of texture and negative spaces.........

and while I'm on things 'family' remember the wool I had to knit a hat for Molly? well, doesn't she look cute in it?

So onto things really quilty - here are two quilts made by Shut-in Stitchers - I showed a gold & black one last time and here's another using similar colours but a different design made by a different person -

I have just noticed the mistake in the top right corner, funny how looking at a photo makes mistakes jump out at you!  She will unpick it tomorrow, I'm sure.  It's her first quilt and she is justifiably proud of the accuracy of her sewing.

The other one is the second top made by Desdemona [not her real name!] we collected possible fabrics for some months until she had enough -

So again, a big thank you to everyone who has contributed fabric to the programme.

I wanted to talk about log cabin quilts which are a particular favourite of mine, and to show how I got started making them.  Back in the distant past, I made this -

Yes, it's pretty faded, the outer row did have a very dark background, this was made in the seventies and the method we used was to sew by hand onto a muslin backing -

Yup, by hand onto a backing using light thread for the light fabrics..........etc.
We progressed to sewing by machine -

but this was 'quilt as you go', then it was machine but just two fabrics

Then a forerunner of my wonky hexagon log cabin, made using offcuts of Indian cotton - the dye was most unstable, fugitive I think it's called - it certainly ran............ [pardon the pun!]

Nothing subtle about the stark piece of calico in the centre!

Then there's a change of resulting design, great possibilities here -

Greek key I think this is known as......

And another variation where you start in one corner - I have shown the resulting quilt I made with this technique, called Boldly I Went!  I made the blocks in fours using a variety of sized blocks to be different worlds floating in the black.

Here's a thought to ponder, "If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?", George Carlin

and back to a beautiful sunset showing Mana Island

Nice chatting with you, thanks for the feed back, take care.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

I blinked and a week passed!

Once upon a time the weeks were so long, so here's a moment in time captured by my son Phil one evening in the city when there were some strange, low clouds around -

The building is the old band rotunda on Oriental Bay - notice the lack of wind!

We had a very busy morning at the prison yesterday, our newbies are enjoying making their "miniature" quilts, one of which will be used by a pet dog.  I asked for and was given permission by the maker of several tops to share them with you; I had taken them along to the meeting in Lower Hutt last week where they were much admired.  It takes a while to accumulate a variety of black and white which are much in demand.

The outside border was donated by Sue Burnett and I think it is the perfect finish.  There will be more to share next time.

The technique from my class this time is the pinwheel.  I remember years ago the difficulty the class had in understanding that for a pinwheel, the orientation of the half square triangles must all be the same in order to get the desired result

I chose to mark the back of one of the squares with a diagonal cross

and then stitch from the centre to the corner, each time to the left of the marked line.  I know it is also possible to get the same result by sewing around all four sides of the square and then cutting, but I avoid bias edges where I can.

You can see the line of stitching, and then when opened, they are all the same

which makes it much easier to get this result in a more complicated version of a pinwheel

as in another flower block, the size of the centre square for the partial seam dictates the size of the extra rectangle.

On a recent visit to the alpaca farm I saw this sign

Can't help thinking there are many children who would consider this a good outcome!

I took up my knitting needles during the week, at the request of my granddaughter who wants a hat, the needles were huge and not easy to handle but the yarn was beautiful - and I wasn't the only one who thought so -

and my quote today is by Joseph Wood Krutch, "Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want."

And to close, another photograph taken the same time as the first one, but on top of the band rotunda with the houses on Mt Victoria in the background.

Nice talking with you, thanks for stopping by