Monday, October 30, 2006

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Gone to new homes...

Well, I brought four quilts with me to the US, and all four have now gone to their homes, hoorah. One was the black and white and red wall hanging for my mother, which was the BQL 2006 Ostrich. I'm supposed to help her hang it up before I go (she has decided to put it in a different place than originally planned and keep it up all year, which is fine with me), so hopefully there will be a photo before too long. Then there was the one for my stepmother Nancy's 60th birthday, the belated wedding present for my friend Mike and a wallhanging for my friend Debbie's bedroom, which I delivered yesterday - with that one, she picked out many of the fabrics herself, last time I was here, but left the design to me. Luckily, it fits the space and looks really nice in the room. And she likes it - whew!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Some new projects to work on when I get home...

These two pieces of fabric are hand-dyed - the result of a spatter class a friend of mine took. She sent them to me as part of a challenge with my surface embellishment group - it's a new group, an offshoot of my dye group, and as our initial challenge/swap/project we are each sending something which can be used in surface embellishment (for instance, fabric itself, paint, beads, angelina, or anything else) to two other people. Then with the two things we receive, we have to make a journal sized piece (i.e. size of a piece of paper) to show what we've done. The idea is to maybe try some new techniques and just to have fun. We have to use both things that were sent, and we have to use them together, but we can add other things or not as we like. I received the fabric and a package of foils with the appropriate glue, etc - which is great as I've been wanting to try foiling. I can't work on mine until I get home but I have some ideas as to how I might put them together. What I sent was some bronze coloured wax to one person and a package of those tiny tiny glass beads (so small they don't have holes) and complimentary larger beads to the other. Can't wait to see what everyone does.

This pattern was one my mother chose in JoAnn's (strangely enough, I found barely anything I wanted, for once) - she really likes the quilt and I do too even though it's cats - I like the New York Beauty style part of the body. I'm going to help her pick out some calicos to go with it, and then eventually make the quilt for her. It should be fun, and something a little different.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Box o' bits

On Tuesday, we went over to visit my friend Barbara and her husband Brian, who are both artists. Another friend of Barbara's, Sheila, also an artist, died earlier this year, and Barbara had a big huge box of old fabric, bits of vintage lace and other miscellany from her, which she'd been saving for me to go through - so now I have a nice bag full of trim and bits of old lace. I didn't take a lot of it - Sheila did these enormous "paintings" of fabric, so she could use the really big bits - that's not really how I work, at least not for arty stuff - traditional quilts, sure I'll make big - but it was great fun to tip it out on the floor and spend an hour going through it. Now I'll just have to do something with it when I get home. I have some ideas brewing, I admit.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Squishies in the post

Lookie what I got in the post yesterday. These may look a bit familiar - yes, they are the blocks from the string square swap which I made lots of blocks for and made a quilt for Cathi from more that I'd made. These are the blocks I got back from others in the swap, which means that they look essentially like the ones I'd made myself, only with different fabrics - and in many cases, fabrics I've never seen before. At a glance, there are a few fabrics in there I have in my own stash, but it's swaps like these that never cease to amaze me how many different fabrics there are out there... Anyway, the swap hostess knows I like brown and so made an effort to pull out some of the brown blocks to send me - wasn't that sweet? There are 50 blocks here, but I'm only showing 4 - not enough space to lay the others out easily...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lack of broadband will do me in!

So far, I seem to be able to keep up with my blogging and email reasonably well while on holiday, but as my mother doesn't have broadband, I'm going to have a really hard time keeping up with all the quilting blogs I normally read. I did catch up with a handful this morning, but nowhere near all of them. Some of you cynics might suggest that this is because I read too many quilting blogs. Hush, hush you foolish people!

Quilt related, in a kind of boring way

(local time 8.46pm) Well, I did do something sewing & quilting related today - I stood at the post office counter for 15 minutes sending out various swap blocks, and so on. Several of them needed to be weighed for the return envelope as well, and other complicated things like that. But now they are all on their way to their hostesses or homes, depending on whether they were centralised or decentralised. These swaps included: a nine patch in hand dyed fabrics and a pipe shibori swap for my dyelist; the library bookcase blocks and the October Lotto blocks (the black and brights) to Sophie from; the blue and yellow carefree nine patches; the Penny Pincher 4 blocks - 4 patches in WOWs and accents and then the batik corners, which was decentralised. All of these are ones I've mentioned before, which I've been saving to bring with me to save postage... And now they are gone on their ways - hurrah!

Friday, October 13, 2006

A creation in its proper home

Well, here we are at my mom's house in the US - I'm not doing any sewing, of course, but I'm sure there will be quilting and sewing related blogging anyway. Today, this is a photo of a wallhanging that I made for my mom last year - she picked most of the fabric, with some help - she found a feature fabric she liked and then I helped pick some accent fabrics. I made the wallhanging in three pieces with the idea in future I might be able to make new pieces for her to hang there. I've photographed the wallhanging before, but never in situ, so I thought I'd put it up - it looks really nice, actually.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Finishing off...

Well, I have now finished binding the last of the quilts I am taking with me to America - which means that everything quilt related I need to take, be it finished quilts or blocks or whatever, is done. Yippee! And a bonus to that - my 2006 Ostrich is finished as well - haven't started quilting the 2005 one, but that's a whole nother story...

I expect this is the last time I write about anything I actually sew for some time, as we'll be on holiday in the US, but I do hope to BUY lots of quilting, dyeing and embellishing related stuff, so maybe that will compensate! Tomorrow I get to spend the whole day hanging out with longarm quilters, so that will be quilting related, and who knows, maybe some photos to share there.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The mysteries of hand quilting

Probably not something I'll ever understand. But I have finished all the quilting I am going to do on my mother's b/w & red "ostrich" quilt, including some trapunto (very basic), which was one of the instructions for the final month. I was going to ostrich in October (i.e. stick my head in the sand and ignore the instruction) but actually, the piece decided it had too much empty space to it, which wanted something quilted in it, so it was simple enough to stuff some circles of batting underneath in various places and quilt round them - I did four. The photo I took of the whole quilt doesn't show any of the quilting (well, black thread on a black background, from a distance, what did I expect?) and the closeup is blurry because I couldn't get the camera to focus, but I think you get the idea. Tomorrow, binding & sleeve on, tomorrow night, sew them down, and hey presto, it's finished. Then I just have to tackle last year's Ostrich!

Unexpectedly productive (or, every cloud has a silver lining)

I had expected to get no sewing at all done today - so many errands to run and things to do at school, but Alex's "my tummy hurts" this morning actually turned into real illness (in the form of throwing up on mummy. sigh.) so we spent the day at home. He spent the morning watching telly, then lying on the floor playing with a toy plane and listening to music. He didn't really want company, so in between the washing (he threw up again on the sofa covers), I sewed. And sewed. And then after lunch, when he was a little more with it and wanted to play on the computer, I came downstairs and fused fabric...

The first thing I did was finish my postcards for the autumn splendour swap - these are the last three - one has a red binding/border, I know, but I thought I was going to run out of gold, so I did one with red. As it happened, I didn't run out of gold, but whatever.

Then, I decided to get something old out - I have these Japanese blocks-of-the-month which I am gradually doing (only a year or so behind schedule) and one of them was sort of half done, so I finished it off. At the end, each block will have a fabric around the circle, but for the moment, I've just used paper to give the effect. This is block number 4 (here are the others)- only 5 more to go. I've decided I'm going to designate it as a 40th birthday present for a friend, so it's going to have to be finished by October 2008. Having a deadline, even a distant one, will help me actually work on it. It's not that I don't like it, it just tends to get pushed down the list of stuff to be done because it's not urgent.

Lastly, as I said above, when Alex got to the point where he needed me downstairs (light supervision & help with computer game) I decided to dig out the small fine-tipped soldering iron I purchased at Festival of Quilts and have a go at Fusing Fabric, Margaret Beal style (I bought her book too). Basically, I just played around, but it was fun. I'll definitely do some more with it, though I'm not sure it's a technique I'll use a lot, but I can see using it for small projects, like postcards and things. Some more photos here (this one very blurry because I took it without a flash - the flash makes the nylon organza look really garish...)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Nesting Row Robin

Some of you may have followed my Nesting Robin last year - this is now finished (although I have one more round to do when I come back from holiday, which is to repeat an element used somewhere near the centre of the quilt- I am going to add some more flying pigs) and a new one is beginning. The idea is to start with a block or row (or whatever) and each month, add something to it, based on the isntructions given by one of the participants. For instance, you might have to add squares or curves or use applique. Usually the instructions given are fairly broad so that you can interpret it in a way that will suit your own project. It's based on the more traditional round robin - where each player makes a centre and passes it to the next person, who adds a round, and so on. But it's more pracitcal to doing one that "nests" rather than flies for several reasons - for one thing, you don't have to post it on to the next person, so that saves money. But also, it means you can work to your own schedule, and you don't have to worry about the quality of work that goes into any given round. I love doing them because although there's usually still lots of room for interpretation, you also get pushed a bit outside what might be your normal boundaries or tendencies.

Anyway. The new one will only be 8 rounds long, to keep the quilt from getting too big. And I have decided to do it as a row robin - so instead of making a centre block and working outward, I will do a starting row, and then one row each month - this will work out nicely to a single bed sized quilt. I am going to do the rows each in a single colour (though not a single fabric) with a black background - the starting row, I have done in 8 different single colours, and I think it looks very nice, if I do say so myself! The photo is not great, but it's chucking down rain outside and I have nowhere great to lay this out to photograph it. Subsequent months can hopefully hang from the washing line, as per my usual quilt photographing technique...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wednesday dye-in

No sewing today, but I did do a bunch of dyeing that was waiting for me - unfortunately, although I like most of the pieces, they aren't really what I needed for a swatch swap (not solid enough colours) so I will have to do them again when I get back from holiday. Did some old towels and a shirt for Alex, too. I love dyeing and working with fabric that way, but I think I am really a quilter who dyes, rather than a dye artist who quilts... But hey, that works too!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Just a little bit last minute!

I knew I'd have a quilting day today on the longarm, but didn't know what I was going to do with it - until I looked at my calendar again and realised that my stepmom's birhday (which I knew was in early October) was her 60th this year - yikes! I was thinking it was next year... Luckily, I have a number of quilt tops stored away with their backings, ready to be quilted for just such an emergency as this, so I was able to just grab something suitable and get on with it. Whew. I chose this top, which was the result of a swap a long time ago on Scrapquilting forum - maybe even the first one I joined. It was a block similar to churn dash, in florals and white - quite pretty. And a good size for a throw quilt, so just right for this occasion. Now to put the binding on it - I can always sew it down once I get to the US as I won't be seeing my stepmom until the 18th or so... The pantograph pattern is a lovely one, very dense, called Amanda's Garden - I really enjoyed doing it, though it did give me hand cramp a bit!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Alternative Christmas colour scheme

Finished the Christmas stars in my alternative colour scheme (mostly blues & silvers) today - there are nine of them, and I'll sash them together somehow, haven't decided just how yet. They'll make a nice little lap quilt for Christmas, once I get them together. No rush... Also did a few blocks for the October Block Lotto on Quilting Forum - I decided I'd also use these blocks in a smaller size (these are 10") to make a starting row for a new nesting robin, which I'm doing as a row robin - the idea being to do each row in a specific accent colour, with black - so the starting row will have all 8 colours in it (red, blue, yellow, orange, green, purple, pink and turquoise). I think these little broken arrows will really look nice as a starting point...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Autumn Splendour

For a postcard swap, to the theme "autumn splendour" - four of seven required. As you can tell, I did the basics of these as one piece, and cut them apart. Will do the other three next week - they aren't due until the end of October, but I want to get them posted before I go to the US. Time is creeping up on me - can't believe it's 10 days until we go. Nine, really, as today is nearly over. I also finished off the blocks for the bookcase swap and the blue and yellow nine-patch blocks. Nearly done with what I need to finish before going on holiday. And a good thing, too!