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

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mainly applique

Many of you will know that I love all aspects of quilting and my sewing lately has seen me thinking about appliqué. Last year my on-line quilting group worked on Hop To It from the book of the same name by Edyta Sitar. I loved making this quilt...and doing all of the appliqué by hand. I used my favourite method of needleturn appliqué; the back basting method, as outlined beautifully here in Sentimental Stitches, and I have waxed lyrical about it in the past.
Here is what my Hop To It quilt looks like at the moment.
It's laid out on the spare bed waiting for decisions about corner stones and sashings.
This year my on-line group is working on 'Pieces of Time' by Lori Smith. We are making one pieced and one appliqué block each month. I thought long and hard about what method of appliqué to do this time around... I love the look of hand appliqué but it does take me an age to complete each block. So I have decided to do this project by the invisible machine applique method.
While I've dabbled in this method in the past, I've been a bit scared of using it, worried that I couldn't achieve a truly invisible look.
Well I've bit the bullet!!!
I am doing the method using freezer paper - Joanne (Threadhead) gives a tutorial on her blog, and Kim Diehl does an excellent chapter on it in her pattern books.
I've decided to do a quick run through of it here to inspire others to give it a try as well.
Trace and cut out template shapes from freezer paper.
Use a little glue to stick the matt side to the wrong side of your fabric.
Clip inner curves and carefully press raw edges over edge of template.
This takes a little while but it is worth being patient to get the shapes nice and even.
The fabric will adhere to the shiny side of the freezer paper.
Prepared pieces.
Layer these on your fabric background, as you would normally do for other appliqué methods.
Set the machine to a very narrow, small zig-zag.
'1' and '1' settings are recommended elsewhere but the settings on my machine were '0.3' and '0.4'.
(EDIT - The next time I did this I used 0.6 and 0.7, which was easier/quicker to sew and
because my thread matched so well was just as invisible).
I used smoke coloured Aurifil monofilament in the top and fine Mettler Seraline in the bobbin.
As you complete each layer snip through the fabric at the back and remove the freezer paper.
You must remove the paper from one layer before you sew the next piece on top!
Back of completed block - cool huh?
Front of completed block.
Here are my first two pieced blocks.
Monkey Wench (left)
Northumberland Star (right).
Now I cant rest on my laurels for too long as I still have the February appliqué block to do. It's a nasty one, but apparently not impossible as two of the others in the group have already done it! (Joan and Joanne).
I'm going to rest before giving it a try!!

Now I have a faux pas to correct from my last post. Gulp.
I thanked the very kind Cat for the lovely doily she made me...silly me... it was a wash cloth. Now in reality it is too pretty to use as a wash cloth but once Albert (the bear) has finished with it, I will try it out in the bathroom. I'm actually quite excited about this as I haven't had a handmade wash cloth before. Thank you again, Cat.

Thank you for visiting, I hope you all have a happy, stitching week

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Friends near and far

Sharing lovely things - and lovely people.

A special person is leaving our local sewing group so (as quilters do!) we got together to make her something special.
We each made a block in a fabric range (by Lynette Anderson) that she loves.
The lovely Leeanne (one of our group) from quiltmekiwi quilted it for us.
 Last night we gave it to her. She was so happy :-)
Click on the photo to see a slightly larger view.

All the blocks were so special and meaningful. I didn't think to take close-up photos of them all, sorry.
This is the block I made.
It is from a pattern by Lyn Hyland of L'il Blokes.
You may have noticed the centre block became a signature block. The clever Leeanne pulled this off well. 

 We'll miss you our friend, but hope you will think of us when you see this quilt!
EDIT; Leeanne's just posted pictures of all the blocks. See them here.

I've also been on the receiving end of some lovely, thoughtful homemade gifts lately. Closest to home, my YD has made me this gorgeous bear......
I've called him Albert :-)
(And ED gave me the cute wee Gardening Fairy).
He lives in my sewing cave.
Can you see the cute doily he is sitting on?
Cat sent it to me!!! Along with the soap Albert is holding. Such a sweet lady. I've followed Cat's crochet journey over the last year or more (she even "hooked around Europe" [her words!]) so it is nice to have this piece.
Thank you Cat for your thoughtfulness.
And the soap smells gorgeous.

More kindness came my way earlier this week! The kind Donna (no blog) sent me this gorgeous little wall hanging all the way from the USA. She told me she was thinking of my family and I while she was busy sewing Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street. She put together this from the leftovers from it. Isn't she lovely?
Thank you kind Donna.
I'm constantly overwhelmed by people's thoughtfulness.Thank you all!
Happy sewing every-one,

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sewing again!

Thank you all for your special comments, words and prayers after my last posts. They meant a lot to me and if I have inadvertently not responded to your thoughts, I apologise. The world is a huge place and I am so thankful to be a part of it.
It's hard to believe that I have been home again for nearly two weeks. I must say it is taking me a bit to get settled again and back into my routines; however I have having bad moments rather than bad days so that is something I guess.
I did such a good job of packing up my sewing projects before I went away that it actually took me a while to remember where I was with what!!
However my sewing room is once more looking lived in and there are bits and pieces everywhere again - aaahhhh...feels so good!!
Previously I have shown the first two blocks that I had made for the very cute-use-your-orphans-and-scraps blocks run by Pam at Heartspun Quilts. I have since made up all four blocks and here they are -
Block 3 - remember these are all 4 1/2" sized blocks!
Block 4
Pam has made hers into a very cute runner. I'm going to have a think of my one's final resting place before I put mine together...square or running. I am even tempted to do block two again as I loved the way it was made.......!
I'm still thinking on my Threadhead Quiltalong quilt, too. I've laid it out several times.....
The first time was a bit of a disaster
...second laying out was more successful - behind closed doors.
Just placed where they landed.
 I need to spend some time playing so I can get the arrangements right.
(I actually also need a design wall!!)
I love the zig-zag setting but am still deciding how much colour to put in the sashings. I like the stripey effect of the two tans but am still wondering how wide to do each colour-way/stripe.
I'm thinking the plain sashings will give me a chance to do some fun quilting.
I think I will widen the darker stripes (replace some of the light triangles with darker ones).
It's summer here in New Zealand and I was shocked when I returned home to see how much the farm had dried out.  I walked up to the top of 'the back hill' the other day to take these pictures. I often get a lot of comments about how green our farm always looks - right now that's not the case, sadly!
Emma here is showing us how open the pasture is, and very short too.
She wasn't the only one panting after the hill-climb!
Still trying to get the perfect 'dogs frolicking in the river' photo.
But you can see they have fun!
It has been fun getting back into my blog reading and seeing what everyone is up to... I've even been VERY tempted by some new sew-alongs!! Sitting on my hands for now.
Have a great week everyone, and thank you for visiting,
Happy Stitching,

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A personal post

I've had a big question on my mind lately - how much of my personal life do I share - and how can I carry on my bloggy tales without mentioning a very important event in my life?
Blogging has become an important part of my life; I've shared all-sorts about my world, much more than just my handwork, and I have made some very special friends through it. To exclude aspects seems to me to be not quite right. I like my blogging to be clear and logical. To leave a big gap doesn't seem right.
My dear dear father died last week.
Just over 2 years ago he was diagnosed with an incurable type of aggressive brain tumour. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy kept the tumour at bay until recently when it started growing again. The tumours grew very quickly and in December his health went downhill very quickly.
One of my favourite photos of Dad and I, taken not long after his
initial diagnosis. Dad always had plenty to say about everything.
The last few weeks of Dad's life were a very special time. Dad had to go into a resthome for the special care he needed. My brother, sister (who both live overseas) and I were together with Mum. We lived at the resthome with dad, we laughed together, we cried together, we loved together. Dad was able to tell us how much he loved us and we were able to tell him how much we loved him.
Dad's funeral was a coming together of many family members and friends, lots of people whose his life had touched in so many different ways.
Rare opportunity for family photos.
I feel very privileged to have had such a wonderful father; if I can be half the person he was, I would be happy.
A mighty Totara has fallen.
Rest in Peace, Dad.