My quilting thoughts and inspirations sprinkled with a glimpse of life down on the farm

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Big Weekend and a Small Quilt!

I baked for the girls - but they didn't eat a crumb......

I went on retreat - but I stayed at home.....

My little online quilting group have just had a Skype version of a quilting retreat! We chose a quilt from a book we all have, warned our families, and got sewing!
It was so much fun! Time zones only got in the way a little and we seemed to sew our way through them :-)
This is the little quilt we chose to do —
It is Square Dance, by Lori Smith, out of her book Fat Quarter Quilting. It finishes at 16" x 20".
It was fun to do as it had the mix of piecing and applique... its size meant we mostly got to the quilting and binding stage by the end of the weekend.

A couple of posts ago, I asked if anyone had any great tips on invisible machine applique.... this quilt was a good practise for me; I worked hard at getting it as invisible as I could and have finally realised you cant have it totally invisible - I think the look I was striving for doesn't exist!! However I am happy with it and will write a little more about it in another post another day :-)
This was the first time I have used a wool:poly batting mix and I am quite pleased with it. (60/40 from Matilda's Own). It has a lovely puff and it also has a beautiful weight and feel. Dense quilting wasn't needed (which was good as the weekend was over!). I'm hooked! (And it kept my lap warm while sewing on the binding too!).
Thank you girls for your company!! Joanne shows her quilt here, and Wendy's is here.  We chatted with Joan too but she wasn't sewing the same little quilt.

I put the last few stitches in this block last night, my third from the Quiltmania mystery from last year. (Halfway there!)

Do you rememer the VW van I pattern tested a few blogposts back? Juliet now has it on her Craftsy site so if you loved it, you can now make your own!! It was fun to make.
Apologies to those of you whom I haven't answered after my last post, I hope to catch up soon. (Been busy sewing!)
Have a lovely day, happy stitching,

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Irene and FMQing

A quick little Hello to start the weekend with; hasn't the week flown by fast?! I've had a little sewing time, and completed month /row 4 of Goodnight Irene.
I am loving doing this so much - simple and straight forward; I've tried doing it as a Leader -Ender project, but once I pull it out, I'm hooked!
I've also added an extra block at the end of each row to make it a little wider.. now to decide whether it looks lopsided or not - do you think I should make it more balanced by having each row start and finish with a cross block or 16-patch?
This photo is a little dull, while it's not going to be a bright quilt, it's
definitely brighter than this photo shows!
Thank you Terry, once again, for hosting this sewalong, I am really enjoying it. To see the variety of quilts everyone is making, click *here*... Terry has put the link-up on her sidebar which I think is a brilliant idea as it doesn't get lost in amongst her posts!

I squeezed in a little free motion quilting this week. Amy, from Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures has started free motion quiltalong Mondays, designed to help us with our fmq-ing skills. At the start of the month she introduces a quilting design. The idea is we have the month to play with it and improve it. Last month was McTavishing which I was a bit slow to join up with.
This month's is a Scroll Flower —
Of course the first step is to get your tension right!! ...
...then you can play!
This was fun. You can see the scroll shape in the centre of the flower - then
a round of petals, then echo the petals once.
Then branch out and make another scroll...and so on.
This is my first attempt at it, I look forward to playing some more and mastering it fully :-) like not getting caught in a corner, keeping my petals nice and round, playing with variations and so on!
Amy gives very clear instructions and a video *here* on her blog, so visit her if you want to have a play too.

I've had such a lot of fun with my free motion quilting that when I had the opportunity, I decided to get myself an HQ Sweet Sixteen. How exciting!!
Nigel was the first one to have a play....
....But then I quilted my first quilt, Paintbox, on it - oh joy!
The Sweet 16s are a sit down machine with the machine facing you straight on; you still move the fabric around, just like you do with standard machine fmqing. There is a lot more room and other bells and whistles. I'm still mastering it, but am thoroughly enjoying it so far!! Here's to lots more adventures :-)
I have some sewing with friends planned for this weekend, so must get myself organised..... have a great weekend,
Happy sewing, and thank you for visiting,

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Saturday Sewing

Aren't weekends lovely? The rhythm of the farm keeps on, no matter what day of the week it is but there is still a slight change of pace which indicates a bit of down time.
I spent Saturday morning working in the garden, a little bit of rain has made the soil friable and weeding is a pleasure, as is tidying up bushes and planning new plantings :-)
Then it was some sewing time, and I caught up with a few pieced  Pieces of Time blocks I was behind on. This quilt is one my online sewing group is doing as a BOM; one pieced and one applique block a month. We started at the beginning of last year so it is definitely a long-term process!! Nice to see some progress though! This is where I am at so far with the pieced blocks —
14 pieced blocks completed - yaay!
 Here's a slightly closer look at them all. The blocks finish at 7 1/2" so vary in their fiddliness!

I'm sure you can pick out the one I am going to re-do; however I will wait till all the blocks are done before doing this, in case, by some miracle it works after all!! (That blue is actually a fine stripe which I thought might read a bit lighter than it has).
Here is what we are aiming for - isn't it beautiful? —
Photo from Lori Smith's website,
From My Heart To Your Hands.
So my goal for the next little while is to catch up with the applique blocks. I am doing these by invisible machine applique and am still experimenting with this - freezer paper or washaway, which threads and getting my stitch right. Maybe I'm being too fussy, but I do need to sort myself out!! Any tips?

I also want to spread the word about another blog. Karen of karensquiltscrowscardinals has launched a pattern design company and is having a giveaway to celebrate. Karen has designed some gorgeous applique patterns and has posted some awesome tutorials on her blog over the last few months (or more). She has some free patterns available and the giveaway is a great one.
*Here* is the link for the giveaway post. The giveaway closes Monday so head on over for a look!

Daylight Saving ended last night so I'm feeling bright-eyed and bushy tailed... seems like another productive day may be in the pipeline :-)
Happy weekend stitching and thank you for visiting,