Thursday 30 January 2014

she's a little treasure!!!

I have been steadily making a couple of 16 patch blocks every other day over the past week.
Leaving it all for a couple of days and going back to it with a fresh perspective was a good idea.  Reading other blogs has also been a great help, seeing how others approach things, & that they too experience that unsure feeling with what they are making. I also found this site which was interesting too... goes with my earlier thoughts of trying to get some kind of colour/mood picture happening to help me focus a bit better!!! 
The colours are kinda coming together slowly. Not sure if it's using an assortment of old/newer fabrics or whether it's the antique chintzie look or what, but there have certainly been a few rejects along the way! However, I decided to carry on, can't get despondant now, I'm well over 1/2 way!

And then today...little Olive came to visit. 
She got v. busy v. quickly, and before we realised she had re- organised all my carefully, well positioned blocks. Some blocks were marching in single file up the hall......

And others were flung around with gay abandon on the spare bed.....

What a little treasure!!!
Linking up with today.

Sunday 26 January 2014

a summer garden party

After spending time tidying up in the garden all morning I thought I'd relax with a bit of sewing. I'm working on my 16 patch quilt and, I must admit, it's been a bit tricky! 
I really thought I'd just combine fabrics, mainly greens & pinks, and things would be great!!   
Well, you know... there's many many different greens and many many pinks!  It was suddenly beginning to look very shabby chic, not at all what I wanted!!!      
I needed to go back to my starting point.
What I had in mind was a summer garden party....leafly greens/pinks/soft blues, with just a touch of something deeper...that's what I wanted!  So to help, this afternoon I put together a few ideas -  my collection of oriental pretties sitting alongside assorted blue & white china, mum's 80th "high tea" setting in her garden, my daughter's wedding bouquet, my mis- matched cups & saucers, and of course the quilt that started all this!!!

A kind of mood board, I guess?
And then I got busy sewing...... 

p.s. Here's a photo update......

Friday 24 January 2014

particularly pretty in pastels!

I have been going thru' a few of my Kaffe Fassett books this week, and certain quilts still have appeal. I spotted a "crosses" quilt made in a rich pallette of gold/magenta/blue tones, and more modern versions of this have popped up often over the past year. Another "oldie but a goodie" is the ever popular Rosy quilt, 9 Patch square alternating with larger squares in a variety of  colour combinations, leafy rosy/tawny rosy/pastel rosy.

Kaffe & Brandon are "in town" this weekend in Auckland, NZ. 
I recently found this blogsite, , where Vrena had just finished one of his classes, check it out for interesting comments.
I went to a Kaffe class a few years ago, really enjoyed it. The main things I got from the day were to focus on colour rather than the print, use a design wall, and to work fast & intuitively! Of course things still don't always pan out, wrong choices of fabrics, etc.  (I wonder how he copes with that?).

What springs to mind when I think of Kaffe is his bold use of pattern & strong colours.
In one of his earlier books however, published in 1997, I found a quilt that I really liked, a version of the 16 patch quilt. I have recently made a 16 patch quilt, and while it was quick to piece, it was made from solely from one designer range. A bit limiting I felt.
Kaffe's one was particularly pretty in a variety of pastels. So easy to live with, using medium scale floral prints, and with the addition of something just- a- bit- deeper to add a bit of punch!!!  It was v.reminiscent of mismatched flowery teacups, rosy wallpaper, oriental floweriness, etc......

........interestingly, in this old book, he hadn't yet begun to design his own fabric ranges.  
I figure this v.versatile quilt block was the perfect answer to using up some of my assortment of old/new fabric scraps, from a variety of sources, over a period of years! I just need to stay focused on the colours & not get sidetracked by the prints!!


Tuesday 21 January 2014

Hour Glass Quilt update

This is where I was at when little Olive (nearly 3yrs) came to visit the other day.
She took one look at all the blocks laid out on the spare bed & she just so so wanted to play !!!  Luckily, we were off out to "the cafe" !!!

So today while it rained, I had a final audit/play with the placement of my hour glass blocks!!
...I shifted things around a wee bit to ensure the top & the bottom rows were sort of mirror images of each other, something I have found in the past helps keep a bit of balance happening in a scrappy sort of quilt!
...and I replaced some of the teal triangles with a more deeper blue fabric to give more variety.
...and then I spent a couple of hours sewing, getting the blocks all together!!  (b4 little Olive returns!!!) 

These large blocks went together v. easily, a little bit of pinning to interlock everything nicely, & all  intersections looking ok for once!!!

Linking up with  WIP Wednesday over @ later on today. 

Sunday 19 January 2014

shaken AND stirred (up)

Beginning a new quilt was the last thing on my mind today, but hey...and once I stepped into the spare room to open the curtains, my Sunday morning just disappeared!!! 
Each new quilt really seems to be a mystery these days, but I do love that I learn a few things along the way each time!  Take my latest project today for example..... a simple Hour Glass quilt, using mainly Anna Maria Horner fabrics  -

I pulled out what I had left of my AMH fabrics & cut up lots of large squares, separated them & popped them into two paper bags, one warm colours, the other cool. Then I just shook them all up, pulled out one from each bag & began sewing the pairs together. Then I cut each joined pair across the diagonal to get largish 1/2 square triangles. I carried on making a variety of pairs.  Once I had quite a few, I began pairing them up again, sewing across the oppersite diagonal, recutting, and then joining them together into the hour glass pattern.   No planning, no co-ordinating, just random scrappy piecing (such fun!!! ), but here's the thing....

Firstly, because I have been using my AMH stash a bit lately, there were several pieces that just weren't big enough, so I had to join them...

Next, while I didn't particulary want to include any solid fabrics, I did find that by throwing in a couple of tone-on-tone fabrics now & then, the overall "hourglass" shape seemed more defined and gave the eye a bit of a resting place inbetween all the lovely prints ...

And, I also found that adding a few smaller scale "itty- bitty" type prints helped create interest & a bit more definition. I do have a tendancy to stir things up a wee know, combining different designer ranges, different colour combos, etc. I've noticed that AMH doesn't have too many "itty - bitties" in her ranges but I used 3 of hers that worked well, plus a few more ..........

And here's how my Sunday morning sewing ended up ....

Thursday 16 January 2014


This week I have been concentrating on a few of my unfinished bits & pieces.
I decided that before I begin any other quilts I have to finish at least one!! Like many of you, I do have a few ideas running around in my head - but they will have to wait.
My personal tastes have changed over time and I admit some WIP's have really & truely lost their appeal now  e.g. those jewel coloured tumbling blocks are certainly going back into the depths of the wardrobe!!!!
But,  I did get up to speed with the Material Obsession's  "40 Shades of Grey"  BOM homework. The next block is sure to arrive any day!!  I guess we must be at least 1/2 way thru' by now, I think it was for 10 mths total.
Next I put the binding on two smaller quilts, and they are all ready for the twins 5th birthdays early February......

And in the evenings, I have made some more progress on my scrappy Tumbler Quilt.
I pieced it together some time ago (pre blogging- time!!) and am now hand quilting,  1/4" outlining each tumbler using perle cotton.  I do really enjoy quilting by hand & use to do it alot more years ago, but time pressures/work etc intervened. The finished effect is lovely & soft, quite different to machine quilting.
But it does takes some time!
This is one quilt that wasn't made in a week for sure, I'm just doing it at my own pace......

All in all... a good few days of summer sewing!
I wanted to try & link up to  Freshly Pieced WIP's, not too sure how to do this yet but will try!!  I'm just a wee bit technically challenged, wish me luck!!!

update.... worked !!!!      

Monday 13 January 2014

"Traditional- to- Modern" quilting

I have been waiting for this book for simply ages...and today it finally arrived!!!!
(Amazon have been a bit slow on the uptake from what I can gather!)

Vintage Quilt Revival by Katie Clark Blakesley, Lee Heinrich & Faith Jones. 
It has instructions for making 20 traditional blocks, nothing startling there!  However, I was more interested in the way the authors gave the old blocks a modern spin & show some fresh quilt layouts & new colour approaches.  I think the versatility of classic blocks is really captured here!
I love this comment in the introduction on discussing the end product, you know - our completed quilt, warts & all ...... (quote) "remember - there is something inherently beautiful in the imperfection of a handmade item". Embrace the skill building moments as they come"  (unquote).

* There is also a quilt-a-long happening, check it out over on this site - This is all set to start January 21st.
* And a blog hop @ where everyone is each making an individual block & they will end up as charity quilts. Great idea!
Here's a few pics from inside the book -


 and my favourite....

Saturday 11 January 2014

BOM update

Well, one of us has been v. busy...and it's not me!!
Glenys popped in the other evening to show me her latest work - we are both doing the Material Obsession BOM "40 Shades of Grey" quilt. She said Block 3 took ages to do and, because of the size of the hexi's, she couldn't really watch T.V. as well as hand piecing -they really were quite fiddily. Once each teeny tiny hexi was completed, they were hand stitched onto the black/purple spot circle, and then.. machine appliqued onto a colourful circle, and then...onto a light white/grey background square.

The teeny tiny hexi's are so small, & so v. cute!! 
They look great surrounded with the "filler"  black/grey spot & light grey HST pieces don't they?

Motivated by all her progress, I made a start on Month 4 BOM today which was waiting for me when I got home from holiday.   (I have sorted fabrics ready for Month 3 hexi's, BUT haven't quite got around to sitting down & making them all am skipping onto the next block. Don't want to get too far behind.)
We are using a grey/black spot fabric that will hopefully link everything together, but we each have a different spot for this. Looking at the pics now, I can see that the spot fabric certainly makes all the other fabrics "pop"!!!!
So here's what I have done so far, plus a close up of todays "flower basket".

Thursday 9 January 2014

from the depths of the wardrobe...

Happy New Year!!
Thanks to everyone who has stopped by & for all your lovely comments over the past year!!!
If you've just found Kokaquilts for the first time, welcome!

Well first up, before even getting down to the beach, I couldn't not make the little mermaid doll that Karyn over @ made little baby Lucy!!   Olive, my 2 1/2yr grandaughter, just loves being a mermaid, & reading mermaid stories, so how could I  resist?!?!?  I downloaded the PDF pattern and away I went....

And Olive just loved her little mermaid dolly on Xmas day!!
During the pre Xmas rush I also managed to finished my Flying Geese Quilt, get the binding all ready, and the batting/backing sorted ......

Onto 2014........
I have had a lovely relaxing few weeks down at the beach...swimming, walking, dress shopping @ Molly's (!!), and eating out at the various cafes, etc. The high influx of people into the area meant that the main road was just like rush hour all day!!! Luckily this last week it all quietened down a bit. 
As the annual requirement dictated, I went to the vintage fair & and bought a lovely garnet necklace for myself...

 & a vintage dress for my v. old baby doll (which my grand daugther now loves to play with)  ...

And onto my sewing -
Well, instead of having new resolutions, plans & projects for 2014,  here's what I got side tracked with once I got back home  ....
Yesterday I went searching in the wardrobe for a particular fabric, (for something quite unrelated to patchwork!).  One would think that now I have a bit of a system happening with my fabric stash that I should be able to lay my hands on something easily, but no such luck!!

On going thru' the depths of the now sewing room wardrobe, what I found instead was this sweet little unfinished quilt top. Kaleidoscope blocks using Kaffe stripes with softer pastels & a couple of batiks thrown in too. There's a kind of circular- motion- thingy happening, where alternate blocks have the lights & darks reversed. I remember seeing a version of this quilt in a book by Alex Anderson, only she paper pieced it, whereas I drew up the triangles on graph paper & machined pieced them.  And, on a closer inspection of my earlier piecing, it's all looking pretty good...the intersections are almost perfect!!

I fished out some circus fabric which teamed up well for the backing & layered the quilt up ready for some simple machine quilting.

The other thing I found was a lovely old unfinished quilt top - of my version of the Cotswald's Quilt, a large medallion quilt, using reproduction fabrics.  This quilt top is an old UFO, and has been sitting in my wardrobe for well over 8 years now.  I purchased the pattern from Patchwork on Stoneleigh in Australia. I remember that  I had a spot of bother with the one of the borders, just couldn't get it to fit, so I abandoned the project.  Looking at it again now, I am so sure I could  make it work.... my 2014 motto - if it doesn't fit, make it!!!
I still love this kind of look, with it's faded creams & repro colours, where nothing looks like it was bought specifically but rather collected over a few years, & seems kind of unplanned.

What's more, I also had all the other bits cut ready for the flying geese borders, & some were even pieced as well!  And there seems to be all the bits cut ready for the next final four simple borders. So sadly, this lovely beginning of a quilt never came to anything - yet!!!
But I can understand how this happened.
Around this earlier time in my life, after a short 3yr stint owning a patchwork shop & earning nothing/ziltch/nada/zero/nil, I concentrated on getting back into full time work.  Nursing became a priority and in the process, all things patchworky kinda stopped in my life for quite a few years.

Anyway now, re-discovering all these old goodies in the depths of the wardrobe is simply wonderful!!  
AND with everything all cut & ready to go,  I've got no excuse not to just get on & finish this!!

But I am selective on what I will work on & actually finish!!
This final UFO is old, from way way back!
I remember hand stitching some of it while I was doing night duty -

Tumbling blocks, all in jewel type colours with mainly black inbetween. I have two largish segments, all hand pieced, and I truely don't know what to do with them now !!! 
Oh dear......any suggestions?