Monday 28 July 2014

elephants on parade

a Sarah Fiekle spot

You must all be sick of the Gypsy Wife by now -I know I sure am- so I thought I'd show you something completely different! Glenys has been busy over the last few days! It's another Jen Kingwell pattern but any similarity stops there. These cute little elephants are all ready to be appliqued on, the strips are raw edged applique, and there are folded triangles on the edges... a nice touch to encourage tactile touchy-feely stuff!  It's going to look adorable!  

Saturday 26 July 2014

gypsy wife {reflective edition}

The style of quilts I make varies quite alot but I do find I am drawn more often to ones with lots of colour! And this scrappy Gypsy Wife sure has that! It's been a slow burning project, which is ok -I can do slow! But what I have found hard is the construction stage, the putting-it-all-together part! Is it just me or are others struggling too?

I've had little blocks & little 1 1/2 " strips of fabric everywhere! At first it was all in one place, up on my design wall in my sewing room. But then this WiP got too big... it's now spread out all over the spare bed, AND all over the floor in the spare bedroom.... and it's been this way for a couple of weeks now. So very, very messy!  It's like having a teenage daughter back at home, leaving everything in messy piles on the floor, and it feels like history repeating itself, you know, like you have to pick you battles! So I've simply resorted to old habits and just closed the door!

On reflection, I have relearned a few things... so all is still good!
A consistant scant 1/4" seam is certainly the key here. And when piecing all the strips together, I found, after the first few attempts!, that sewing successive seams in alternating directions helped decrease the bowing (curving into an arc) look. Also, while using alot of fabrics certainly gives that real scrappy feel to the quilt, I personally need to have some sort of balance thingy happening too - so I began limiting my little block borders to 4 colours (reds/blue/goldish/grey), and I used low volume fabrics & assorted greys as my backgrounds. 

I have enjoyed the "process" and, while the challenge of construction has certainly called for some patience, it is exciting seeing it all come together! But now, I must admit, I'm only focusing on the end result!

a bit more # 16
check this out...

a little gift

Practise makes perfect, yes? I'm still determined to do more of my own machine quilting ... and this weekend let's be honest, I really needed a break from the Gypsy Wife! {she's been lingering a bit too long on the spare bed & I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed right now!}  My neighbour is due to have her baby early August so I popped over the fence & offered her a choice from a couple of unfinished quilt tops I had.  I thought I'd give easy wavy-line quilting a go to finish off this little cutie. I selected the wavy decorative stitch on my machine, made it quite a bit bigger, and simply followed the seam lines. It was certainly a v. quick & easy way to quilt, and a nice change from straight lines. As you move the quilt up & down the straight rows, the machine does the wavy action. I did still need to be very mindful of my footpedal speed & how fast I was actually moving the quilt, however I felt I got better with it as I went along. There are a few inconsistancies, I'm sure baby James won't mind!

a bit more # 15
inspiration for wavy line quilting came from here
and here
and here

Sunday 20 July 2014

burning the midnight oil

Yep, I'm still  here, and still working on the Gypsy Wife quilt!
At first glance, this appears to be a really delightful scrappy quilt, but as I have discovered, there's a bit more to it than just throwing seemingly random bits of fabric together!  And so it is taking a bit of time, but the more I work on it, the more I'm loving it!
Once I started piecing the earlier blocks I realised a couple of things - I didn't have enough fabric for all my chosen vertical strips and I also needed to consider the overall colour & fabric balance. So first up I contacted Amitie, sent over samples of what I was short of, & they are posting over some of my order. And then I began to work on a section of the left side of the quilt, making sure that potpourri mix of colour related well together. I have unpicked a few things & I have changed my mind about a few things, and I do have a few small blocks that I have no idea where they go yet! But once I had come to grips with the measurements (many thanx to Megan for forwarding on Liz's beautifully worked out spreadsheets!) it has all gone together very nicely so far.
I thought you might like an update of where I'm at.

Nurses Cross - my favourite block by far!

I have completed all of the left hand sections -

... now I am back working on the right hand sections again -

... and finally, an "all -together -so -far" pic 
(a bit tricky to take but u can get the general idea!)

I've had a lovely run of spare time due to the school hols, sewing late at night
'cos I didn't have to get up at 5:45am ... but that's all over for now! 
I'm back to my  "Olive Days" and volunteer work.
Further progress on this may be a bit slower, but pop back soon to check!

Monday 14 July 2014

Gypsy Wife photo shoot

6" Indian Hatchet block

3 1/2 " square in a square
joining up all these little blocks is a challenge
 - but  hopefully it all fits ok in the end!

a bit of organisation was called for today!

Didn't have enough fabric for some initial vertical strip choices
but have made  final decisions now

it's been a day of just me & my quick-un-pick ... 
I made a few changes and am liking this more & more now!

Monday 7 July 2014

WiP - all playing together nicely {updated}

Yay-y-y- I'm up-to-date with the program... the Gypsy Wife program that is!

lots of assorted filler blocks

revised star block!

This evening I finished sewing the blocks for July. In keeping with a scrappy approach, I've been mainly using lots of the lovely little bits of fabric I bought from Amitie. They are Japanese cottons, very sweet, and very different to what's available here in NZ. I'm having to make sure I don't end up using my same favorites over & over! In a moment of madness, I forged ahead & joined up a couple more sections! I wanted to get a better overall feel of how it was looking, check which colours I've used alot of, & which ones I could use more of. There is some planning involved at this stage to ensure that the vertical fabric strips run all the way thru' the quilt, even if they are sometimes interrupted by blocks.
I have really enjoyed piecing these little gems, but... and it's a big BUT... once I started grouping a few together, well to be honest, I didn't feel that this potpourri mix of fabrics were playing together nicely at all!  So, in the words of Kathy from Material Obession, I am going to grab a coffee and the camera, and have a bit of a think about this! Does anyone have any " life quilt saving" tips that might help here?

a bit more #14
Yep, I guess doubt is all just part of the process!
I did some unpicking
I made some fabric changes
I put some more pieces up on the design wall,
and voila...
there does seem to be some encouraging "flowy" things happening with this potpourri!
Those vertical strips do the trick nicely, I had so under-estimated their influence!


Linking up to WiP Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced 

Friday 4 July 2014

Gypsy Wife {fabric selections}

need to make 23 of these little darlings!

June blocks ... and more fabric choices to be made! As others have already commented, it's so true how the fabric selection can really be quite timeconsuming! When I started my Gypsy Wife quilt I figured I'd go for a real scrappy approach, and not get sidetracked overthinking any fabric decisions! In my mind I still see something like a vibrant, colourful gypsy shawl, and I trust that any contrast in colour or value will simply do it's magic!

Whether instinctive or random, the more I sew these little scrappy blocks, the more I've ended up with some little selfmade "rules" - just couldn't help it! While it is of course quite individual & no two quilts will look alike, I thought I'd share some of my findings.
For each month's set of blocks I found I was repeating a few of the same "matchy-uppy" fabrics or same colours, so am trying to go with the flow a bit more now!  I have started using a variety of grey fabrics, you know, just enough neutral here & there to let the others shine! And while not intentional, I haven't used any solid fabrics so far! Oh, and I've also started cutting my 1/1/2 " vertical strips ready for final construction, and these are looking more darker than lighter!
However am panicing ever -so -slightly at the moment! This scrappy approach is scattered all over my little design wall & is looking a tad out of control! Look ...

... But surely
you can't go too far wrong
when you just go with what you love!

Wednesday 2 July 2014

WiP- catching up & a bit more!

a little cluster of courthouse steps
April blocks... done!

May blocks... done too!

In between my "Olive days" I have managed to catch up a bit more with the Gypsy Wife program. If you are thinking of making this quilt at any stage I'm sure you will find it as addictive as I have! There are a few things I have noticed as I'm making these lovely little blocks, which may be helpful to others ... The individual blocks are really not complicated to make - there's just quite alot of them! I am finding using the proposed monthly schedule here is a great help to avoid getting that "bogged down" feeling, and I certainly don't want this quilt to end up in the depths of the wardrobe unfinished! I do think the more scrappier the better! But what has taken some time today has been putting a section together! At one point there, I did instinctively find myself trying to go for a more cohesive look, but  as Julie commented... "gypsy"  = bold, rich & clashing, so here goes!!

a bit more # 12
Glenys popped in tonight with her WiP
she is now putting together the BOM "40 Shades of Grey" quilt

so we have both been v. busy,
it's just that the scale of things is a wee bit different!