Wednesday 26 December 2018

my favourite finish for 2018

As we move slowly  rapidly towards a new year, it's fun to reflect on the quilty things that have happened over this year. Forget all the 'likes' . . . the 'stats' . . . the 'views' . . . my personal favourite finish for the year was "Evie's quilt", and for lots of reasons.

It's one of my most simplest quilts in terms of design and it's one quilt idea that I have revisited often. It's a real 'utility' type of quilt and I'm finding more & more this simple rectangular shape can turn out to be a real delight, depending on your fabric choices.

And it's one quilt that has so many special memories. I made this quilt while we were mid flight selling houses, the family home of 40 + years and our rental house. Packing everything up, buying a new house, lining up settlement dates and moving, it was quite a stressful time. Sewing kept me sane!

And looking back now, what was also so special to me as a scrappy quilter, is the mix of lots of lovely fabrics in this quilt.
So many of my favourite fabrics in this. My colour combo here was pink, taupe & blues with accents in plum & gold. I had it machine quilted by Sandy Mayo in a simple all-over floral design. And the dusky pink binding really finished it off nicely - in a very girly sort of way.

I love all the scrappiness and the memories stitched in.
I'd love to hear what your favourite make was this year too?

If you are interested, 
over on that other quilty place here on instagram a few more favs are being shared too
Linking up with Wendy for the 'peacock partyover here
and with Cynthia for 'oh scrap' here

Wednesday 19 December 2018

it's that time of the year again

Yes, it's that time of year again, and with less than a week to go until Christmas. I grabbed a tiny bit of time today for one last burst of productivity. I'm busy making my scrappy 'carolina chains' quilt, loving watching it slowly grow. Another six sets of four blocks made up, yahee!

In the end, I did find myself quite addicted to making all these little blocks. They are made purely from 2" scrap strips, and I spent a few sessions cutting & pairing up fabrics so I had a pile all ready to go when I had time to sew. My main concern when I started out was to make sure the little blocks had a good strong light/dark contrast happening for those chains.

I used an assortment of low volumes for the light chains. And here's what we are looking at in the next pic . . . a VFWwhite plaid, Maureen Cracknell's 'lovestory'fabrics, a text print, selected portions of AMH's Loulouthi in summer tart, an unknown dotty stripe, Robert Kaufman's 'spot on', Tula Pink's True Colours 'daisybud' in white -which I just love and have almost run out of now, and finally a Pat Bravo batik from the 'elements' collection.

Making a quilt with many many different fabrics of all different colors like this was a little challenge. I raided my scrap basket from under my sewing table for lots of little strips, but alot of my stash is so bold & bright. A few years ago I received a little bundle of 10" squares each month for a year or so and while dated, they still appealed to me and proved to be very very useful for this WiP.

I wasn't too worried about whether the fabrics 'matched' or not. But as things progressed, I was more concerned about working with the colour values to find some cohesion instead of one big scrappy mess. And I'm happy there's still some order and design in it, especially when you stand back a bit.

Oops, it looks like I've run out of design wall space, 
and I've run out of sewing time now too. 
So it seems to me like a very good time to stop and get into the Christmas spirit.
These blocks will still be waiting for me in 2019.
On to chrissy shopping now, {wink wink} only a wee bit behind schedule. 

Until next year . . .

Image result for kiwi xmas pictures

Merry Christmas everyone, 

Friday 14 December 2018

carolina chain quilt

Another scrappy quilt underway! 

This latest WiP of mine is a happy scrappy quilt top made using a pattern from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville, carolina chain quilt and was inspired by a recent make by Jolene from blueelephantstitches. And Julie from justjulielou is also making a version of this quilt too.

I'm using a scrappy 'everything goes' colour palette, digging into my scrap basket for random 2" strips. And like Jolene, I am focusing on values, most of my blocks have medium value fabrics for the outer pieces and half have light centres and the other half have dark centres.

Here's a few progress photos from over the week . . .

Each individual block is 5"x 5" unfinished, with a group of four ending up at approx. 9"x 9" finished. I guess it really depends on your stash but, after making up a few blocks, I did find I needed to make my 'dark' squares quite dark. If you look at the bottom right hand corner in this b&w pic you can see that my darks really don't stand out . . .

. . . It's an easy enough fix. I'm not unpicking anything, but will make sure darker squares go before & after those little lost ones, just to keep the vertical line happening.
And I can also see now, as I look at these photos, that I'll need to scatter in a few more not-so-busy medium fabrics, a few more tone on tones I think, to help your eye unscramble things a little.

- setting triangles fabric
'girlfriends Carole' by Jennifer Paganelli

It is taking me a while and there's still lots more blocks to make, 
but you can see where I'm heading now.
{winkwink} I'm looking at it as a little exercise in being patient about the process
over the summer holidays.

Linking up with Wendy here for this weekend's 'peacock party'

Wednesday 5 December 2018

'candied flowers' {last finish for the year}

Another scrap quilt
And my last finish for the year

and one last pic . . .

'Candied Flowers' is my version of "Whimsy" an eye spy pattern from Judy Newman's book, 'quilts made for life made with love' - see here for details.
I started making this quilt in June 2017, slowly piecing a few blocks at a time. I decided it was an ideal way to showcase my large florals. Each centre flowery octagon was framed with a blending itty bitty print and set on the same neutral background throughout.
There were a couple of cheeky inset seams which proved challenging at the beginning, but the hardest decision for me was choosing the stripe. Love the secondary circular pattern that appears when viewed from a distance.

I recently had it machine quilted in a simple loose meander pattern by Leeanne from quiltmekiwi. Many chose to hand piece this quilt but I went with machine piecing. The finished quilt top ended up quite stretchy, not sure if this is because I didn't hand piece it or not. Anyways, Leeanne told me she used starch on the top before machine quilting and it worked well.

I used a stripey vintage sheet I found at a thriftshop for the backing and my binding was a lovely Art Gallery fabric, Indiefolk in rouge. My finished quilt measures 129cm x 174 cm (approx. 51" x 68").

I still have LOTS of projects to finish up and many, many more that I want to start 
. . . oh well, there's always next year.

Linking up with Kelly for 'needleandthreadThursday' here at myquiltinfatuation
and with Wendy for 'peacock party' here
- a new place where fellow bloggers can meet and share what they've been making.

Saturday 1 December 2018

off the bookshelf

It's time for a book post and I've got quite a mixed line up for you
. . . with two quilting book reviews, a domestic thriller, a bit of poetry, and Kaffe

Next year I really want to focus on machine quilting some of my quilts. Julie from justjulielou recommended I have a look at Jacquie Gering's book for inspiration. Jacquie shows you how to work your way from walking foot basics to intricate marked designs. Her clear directions cover the basics and then the diagrams and step-by-step instructions show a variety of stitches that include reverse stitches, curves . . . and lots of great photos for me to follow. I will update you on how I go.

Other quilters also share their ideas with walking foot quilting designs. Leah Day has videos on walking foot quilting, see here for her book 365 free motion quilting designs. Melissa Marginet has a book too on walking foot quilting that has dozens of designs.

The other quilty book I've recently been looking at is this one - 'Use Scraps, Sew Blocks, Make 100 Quilts' by Stuart Hillard. I'm a scrappy quilter and this book is full of ideas, with lots of suggestions for sashing, settings, borders, and colour schemes to make your quilt unique. 
Stuart takes you through a short techniques section, love his comment about quilting . . . "quilting can be done by hand, or machine, and nowadays it can also by done by credit card". Then there are pages of block patterns, something to tempt everyone. 

And I've got a few books stacked up on my bedside table just now.
I'm 1/2 way through this book, 'The House Swap' by Rebecca Fleet and I can't put it down! It's a slow-burning story of domestic suspense. House swapping sounds somewhat intriguing right? Instead of taking a regular vacation, Caroline and Francis swap houses with a stranger for a week.
The tension between the couple is obvious, they've had a few difficult years but are trying to make things work. Not long after they arrive, strange things start to happen and Caroline is forever looking over her shoulder.
The scenes unravel slowly, but the reading is compelling and I'm racing through this one.

And still on books . . . have you heard of a spine poem? Check out this link here to read a rather moving love poem by Jo from mybearpaw. Great book choices too, I'll have to check out a couple of new-to-me ones.


I see too that Maureen from mysticquilter has Kaffe's latest book Quilts in America. She has been busy gathering fabrics to make the 'stonewall' quilt - such a happy burst of colour

- pics re posted with permission

For lots more reading inspiration pop on over here #booksonquilts
and here #quiltbooks

Tuesday 27 November 2018

a quilty hug

Love that feeling when I finish a quilt, don't you, like really finish it, with the quilting and the binding all done too. And this year has been a good one in terms of my personal start to finish ratio.
Often I don't have a specific purpose in making a quilt. I get a lot of pleasure from making a quilt, and after it's finished, and it's lived with me for a bit, I'm happy if my quilt finds a new home.

This week, as Christmas approaches us fast, I found myself sorting through my quilts. And today I bundled up a few of my quilts and popped into Mercy Hospice at College Hill here in Auckland and met Julie. She was a nurse and is now the Volunteer Manager there and we had a lovely time chatting over a cup-of-tea. It turned out that she & I knew others who had trained at the same time, way way back, and she also knew our close neighbour too, pat-next-door.

I know the team at Hospice provide so much support to so many of us. I received comfort and guidance when my mum was ill, and my daughter is now a nurse there. It's so nice to think that some of my quilts can provide a spark of bright colour or comfort during a difficult time . . .

. . . or simply a big quilty hug

Thursday 22 November 2018

in the works

New project in the works!

I have had my eye for a little while now on the free Kaffe pattern 'Cameo Snowball Quilt'
{found at FreeSpiritFabrics}
and I’m excited to finally have some time to work play with it.

I used one of Kaffe's lovely cameo panels for my starting point. The other fabrics are mainly from Anna Maria Horner's latest collection, conservatory fabrics with just a few others thrown in because I am almost incapable of sticking to one designer or range.

Here's some tentative design wall planning
 . . . so keen to keep going with this, but things will have to wait for my next free time.

What's on your design wall this week?
Linking up with Cynthia for 'oh scrap' here

Tuesday 20 November 2018

what's happening in the sewing room

Well I've shown you a couple of weeks of progress pics,
so I thought I'd show you my finished 'feeling plummy' quilt top now too

I used the 'wagon wheels' quilt pattern from Kaffe's book 'Quilts in Italy'
And for earlier details about my processes & colour decisions, etc pop back here and here

 and just one more pic, with that sort of stained glass window effect . . .

Another one to join the pile waiting for basting & quilting
- and my design wall is now bare!

Linking up with Caroline from sewcanshe here
and with Em for 'moving it forward Monday' here at emsscrapbag