Tuesday 29 April 2014

decluttering & decisions

Whenever I have a new fabric or a fragment of an idea in mind, sometime after 4pm & sometime before getting dinner sorted, I sit down with a glass of vino & enjoy looking thru' my latest quilting magazine or one of my patchwork books, admiring & drawing inspiration from others. And I am thinking alot of us still get our inspiration & creativity from the old quilts, yes? We can make something similar, or we re-interpret the traditional into a modern- fusion version, or we use them as a beginning & then wander off along our own creative path.

The other day, on a bit of a mission, I sorted thru' quilting magazines I had in a box under the spare bed and another recent pile that was inhabiting my fabric shelving. The odd one did date back to 2001 I must admit! (Hey, that's what happens when you don't move house for over 40yrs -you should see my husband's garage!).

Decluttering I think it's called! and admittedly the modern minimalistic look can be very pleasing. There's now a lovely restful empty space on my shelving unit! No wonder real estate agents do this when selling your house, your home. It's like a blank canvas!  But I digress...
I did find several patterns in those old magazines that still appeal to me - for another quilt/another time. Right now thou', I do want to use some old vintage sheets & pillow cases that were also cluttering up that shelf..

and a small, but pretty selection (that's in the postal system somewhere) from the new Dreamin' Vintage range by Jeni Baker @ http://www.incolororder.com/. The internet dispenses a daily dose of inspiration too and I came across a couple of ideas that appeal. So,while things are still very much in the planning stages in my mind, I'm thinking along the lines of either largish retro flowers like this one -


or something like Jeni's 1/2 Square Triangle Sampler quilt -

Dreamin' Vintage Half-Square Triangle Sampler Quilt

I don't have patterns for either idea, am sure I can wander along a similar path with my own version, but before I start cutting any fabric I still have questions... I am wondering if my old vintage & the "new" vintage will blend nicely together? and do I throw in a low volume selection? or have just one main background colour? And then, of course, which way do I go with the pattern - retro flowers? or 1/2 square triangles?  Decisions decisions! Your thoughts?
Oh, and all the magazines?
well, I've donated them to the local op shop.
(thanx to Melanie for the suggestion)
Linking up with Lee's WIP Wednesday

Sunday 27 April 2014

sunday stash

I have been busy gardening & cooking this weekend ...yummy chicken soup from the new Donna Hay book which my daughter gave me recently. It was made the old fashioned way, you know - slowly cooking a whole chicken, straining the stock, & then adding fresh veges, risoni & shredded chicken meat.
I also made an easy one pot apple cake, which is all gone now!!
And  I've finished my latest book just in time for book club this week ... "Barracuda" by Christos Tsiolkas (he also wrote "The Slap"). His latest is about one young man's hopes & dreams, and (I thought) an over riding feeling of never being good enough.  Brutal, thought provoking, tender - I couldn't put it down until I finished.

So, no sewing this weekend.
But I have been doing just a little shopping...
locally & internet!
First up, I popped out to see Cheryl @ All Things Patchwork and spotted this gorgoeus oriental fabric. I'm not a great fan of "oriental" quilts as such, but I do have a habit of throwing the occasional pretty print into most of my scrap quilts. Not sure re details of this fabric as there is nothing on the selvedge. I did buy1metre as I couldn't decide there & then what to use it for, but it will look great as binding maybe, or added into something!

Then a few fabrics arrived from Fabricworm.
This pretty voile, Palos Verdes, that Rita over @ Red Pepper Quilts has used lately & I was so tempted! It feels v. light of course, however it'll fit in nicely with some of my Liberties I am using for my Marcelle Medallion. And I also needed the other fabric - Baby Geo in cream, Fox Field/ Tula Pink. It will go with just about everything don't you think?

And at our last Monday Modern group Liz, I think, showed her latest Tula Pink fabrics, and one in particular really made me smile! Happy Dot in teal with these cute rabbits all over it! Not sure what to do with this yet, but I love looking at it!

And finally, I ordered a blue/green Fat Quarter bundle of Ansonia, Denise Schmidt. I am slowly collecting little samples of her different ranges, they look quite vintage-y & I find I can add a little bit into most things I make lately. And I do know the blues in this group will never go amiss with me (it's my fallback colour for almost everything!).   

So a rather selective Sunday Stash, yes?
Linking up with Molli over at   
Sunday Stash #73

Wednesday 23 April 2014

WIP Wednesday

It's Wednesday again all ready!
I've continued on with my "values" quilt during little spare moments this week and it's now progressing slowly. You know the feeling when you are planning a quilt, you've pulled half your stash out for audition and nothing works! Well, last week I just wasn't going to bother with this at all! And then after a break, I decided to try & concentrate on simply achieving a light/dark contrast and see where that headed. However, as I began piecing the blocks, I felt I needed something a bit better than just squinting or viewing it all from the height of the dressing table!!  Ah-h-ha, this is where the camera will come in handy. So I had a play with the settings in picasa with a couple of my earlier pics...

Without the distraction of colour, it is a bit easier to see the differences in light & dark, don't you think? It was easier as well to determine which fabrics to use next to each other to make one triangle "pop" more than the other. So I kept sewing ...and now as I progress, I can also see which ones blend a little too, which is ok because I did want a few to merge. I also repeated some fabric combinations to help give some sort of overall continuity with the whole thing, and I love the little highlights of blue here & there!  I have only pieced some of the centre segment, if you look closely you will see the rest is simply cut out & laid in position out on the family room floor .... and as much as I love seeing her, I hope little Olive doesn't turn up in the next day or so!! (still, all is not lost really, 'cos I will still have this photo to follow)

 And I had a postal delivery from Hawthorne fabrics after the long weekend ...
a little bit of Valori Wells, as I seem to be drawn to purple these days!

another colourway of Joel Dewberry's dainty daisies, so pretty!

and I restocked up on a few AMH

plus a couple of low volume fabrics
which are always useful.

Linking up with Lee over @ Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Monday 21 April 2014

a values quilt?

This is the wee piece of fabric that started it all.

It's an oldish Kaffe Fassett one & I have used it here & there in my quilts over the years. And now this is all I have left.. not even a complete 9" square.. but I love it!  I selected a few fabrics to go with this lovely old piece and I had a Kaffe Fassett pattern in mind, "Shadow Pinwheel". I was thinking oranges/reds/purples, going for a sort of a gypsy look, and then I threw in a few pinks, blues, a bit of green & grey from assorted fabrics in my stash. This should work I thought, anything goes!   

End result = not very inspiring!

So here I am borderline rejecting the whole idea today, and then I started to really look at the pattern!
This is definetly a quilt based on values... hence the name I guess, Shadow  pinwheel.  Of course there's the expected light/dark coupling in the pinwheel blocks (4 7/8" squares cut on the diagonal), but there was also a rather vague light diagonal line running thru' the larger 1/2 square triangle blocks.  And in some areas there's a merging of values all together, throwing in the odd "medium" fabric which I figure makes things a bit more interesting!
Most of us addicted to fabric find this style of quilt a really great way to use up "the stash". No worries about making fabrics match, I just simply needed to concentrate on thinking in lights & darks!
I began cutting out a few trial pieces, you know, just to see. I had to handle the bigger triangles carefully, as the long edges were cut on the bias & quite stretchy, ( 8 7/8" squares cut on the diagonal). I'm thinking I will piece 1/2 of the quilt & then for the other 1/2, just repeat some of the combinations so it doesn't look too chaotic & messy. So far, I think it's sort of coming together ok.

I can see how a big design wall
would be so helpful to see the overall pattern from a distance
standing up on the dressing table
 and looking down onto the spare bed does the trick!
 How do others do this?

Saturday 19 April 2014

weekend witterings ...

For some time now I have been part of a group..... a sewing group that is!!
Our Monday Modern is a cluster of enthusiastic quilters who meet on the first Monday of each month here in Auckland, NZ.  We have a show & tell, a monthly challenge, and we are also having a monthly block lotto this year.
See here for pics https://www.flickr.com/groups/2067596@N21/
We are quite a mixed bunch. Some of us do hand piecing (most noteably lately is Karyn!), some of us are older(!), some of us are internet savy, & some of us love the maths involved in patchwork, while some of us don't!  We actually all do different sorts of patchwork, but are all keen to learn & share ...  and ... we all love quilting!  The latest NZ Quilter has a write up on our MM quilt show late last year, an interesting read.

Lately, there's been lots of names floating around - modern/ traditional/ contemporary/ art/ vintage etc.
And this brings me to my question,
so what is this "style" thingy all about?
Personally, I'm not too sure myself!
I just know I love making quilts. I love the processes involved in making a quilt, trying out new techniques, and mixing up my "old" with the "new" fabrics. I always feel there isn't enough time to make all that I want to, I swing from modern to vintage just like that, and then there's still things like the FMQ I should really have a go at!  Now that I am retired, I'm so glad I have such a creative hobby! And the internet...well, I get a lot of pleasure from sharing with other quilters, & there's endless inspiration out there!

And so what's my style? 
 well, I guess I'd have to simply say "homemade.Linda"
(and hopefully that will cover just about everything, eh?!?).

For more interesting reading check out -
here @ http://r0ssie.blogspot.co.nz/2014/02/zombie.html where Rossie talks about how "fabric choice is not enough."
and here @ http://www.fromthebluechair.com/2014/04/wip-wednesday-defining-my-style.html#comment-form   (plus heaps of comments!)

Friday 18 April 2014

it's birthday time again!

Both my children have their birthdays very soon, and they are only 3 days apart!
Over the years, I have ended up organising gifts & party plans over the Easter break. But of course now-a-days, they don't need their mum in quite the same way, nor do they need me to top up with socks & warm winter thermals.
So this year they are both getting -you guessed it- a quilt each!
Today I've been busy getting the bindings made & sewn on.  I plan to do the hand stitching in the next couple of evenings. A few people in our Monday Modern quilt group have been machine sewing their bindings down (both sides), & say it's much easier, but I have not personally tried this yet.

After much indecision
I settled on a fabric that's as old as the antique blocks for Peter's quilt
and echoes the machine quilting done by Annette.

And for Raegan's quilt, I'm using a solid orangey/brown fabric 
which really picks out the warm colours in the all the assorted squares.
Her quilt is quilted in a "circular bubbles" pattern, again by Annette.

See earlier blogs for more about both of these quilts if you are interested
For quilting info see Wild Cotton Ltd Annette de Raat   
Happy Easter!

Wednesday 16 April 2014

using up the stash!

I have, belatedly, joined in with the Triangle QAL and needed to get busy to catch up.
I wanted a random, scrappy look, and I did try to make a point of including more solids than usual from my stash this time around!  As you can see thou', a few prints still found their way into the cutting up pile, along with some tone-on-tones!  But nothing's right or wrong is it?  It was fun sorting thru' my bits & pieces for the more "selective" scraps, and I kinda like the overall effect now it's all together.

 And let's face it, if I don't use up the stash....it'll date!    
Linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced. 

Saturday 12 April 2014

not quite solely solids

Making a quilt from solely solid fabrics has never been easy for me.
But I figured it was about time I tried!  
I sorted out some solid scraps and - just because it seemed silly not to - I sorted out some tonal print scraps too, ones that read as a single colour. Haven't even started sewing & I'm off the track already!!

So now what to do?
I decided to make a quilt that used a repetitive shape, like a hexagon, or a triangle, or a clamshell. The overall effect created by using a one patch design can be very appealing, as we are seeing at the moment with all the triangle quilts around. 
Check out here @  http://mouseinmypocket.com/
and here @  http://www.sassyquilter.com/triangle-quilt-along-homepage/

So triangles it is then!
I cut heaps of triangles out,

......and started to sew, just going for a random scrappy layout here!

I really enjoy making scrap quilts, do you? 
There's a look of "making do" about them that I rather like.  
Off now to the matinee performance of the Shen Yun ballet
Have a good weekend.
* updated Sunday *
Just retook pics after  ironing all the triangles
...goodness, what a difference!

Not only linking in with Triangle QAL
but also linking in with Lee @ WIP over at Freshly Pieced on Wednesday.

Friday 11 April 2014

a sudden productive spell!

Lots happening around here in my little sewing room!
If you pop by my blog occasionally, you will have seen that I've been busy with a couple of easily pieced scrappy quilts, using up all those fabric bits, trying to keep a check on the overflowing basket under my sewing table! 

Making a quick quilt can be very rewarding.
They're a fast fix for that creative need. They are perfect for when there's time constraints. And they use up some of the ever-growing stash of fabric we all have!
I especially love...trying to make fabric choices that ensure contrast & value, and including a bit of complex piecing that can take time - but adds so much, and making those final decsions about borders & binding that can make or break it...

... and best of all, seeing people's reactions when you gift one of your quilts. 

It also feels good to make something a bit more complex, you know like having a project brewing away in the background, slowly, slowly!  Do you find it interesting to follow someone's blog, watching how their special project grows over a period of time & turns into something? I know I do!
For example, I love checking in with Megan @
http://jaffaquilts.blogspot.co.nz/2014/03/gypsy-wife-progress.html & seeing her progress on her "Gypsy Wife" QAL.  And seeing how Karyn is going with her hand piecing on all those circles over @
At present, Vintage Spin quilt is my "something", my "slow burner" project.
It is taking a bit of time, and the main reason for that is  - I do get a bit bored making the same block over & over!!  However, once in a while I make a couple more...

Holding my breathe each time I sew the two 1/2's together,

hoping it'll lay flat when I open it out!

Squaring up the circle, hoping they all end up the same size!
I'm aiming for 13 1/2" blocks finished

Thanx for stopping by & reading!

Sunday 6 April 2014

DYO Sampler

A-little-bit-of-pink sampler top - done!
6 x 12"blocks plus assorted filler blocks.
Fabrics all from stash including
some AMH, Kaffe, a sweet Aneela Hoey,
an oldish pink oriental fabric,
 some text prints,
and a variety of spots & dots.

Design Your Own Sampler (DYOS),
for more details see here @

Linking up with Lee WIP @ Freshly Pieced

Friday 4 April 2014

just like a jigsaw puzzle!

Everything got put on hold today while I made a start on Sarah's DYOS quilt. First up I needed to do some cutting, 2 1/2," 4 1/2," 8 1/2" squares, and a few 1 1/2" & 2 1/2" strips. Then I started sewing it all following her receipe, it was just like doing a jigsaw!!  It went together beautifully! Well done Sarah!
I did have to rethink my initial plan of using up some "old" blocks, which was, if you recall, the whole reason for doing this in the first place! But nothing felt right with mixing my old with the newer fabrics I had pulled out. Never mind, maybe some things are best left "as old"?!?  Maybe I can still use them in the backing? 
The pattern calls for 5 x12" blocks & 1x 16" block by the look of it. I made up a couple of 12" blocks to see if they blended in or not, and I think it looks ok. With piecing, there was nothing tricky, but certainly a consistant 1/4" seam helped and ensuring there is a well balanced overall look.  Just need to complete one more section and  iron my seams, but here's a few progress pics ....

It's a real stash buster that's for sure!
See here for info re pattern
Linking up with "Fabric Frensy Friday" later on tonight.