Friday, 31 May 2013

Don't faint - progress on Henry Fish

Guess what? Guess what? Guess what?

I'm fiiiiiiiinally quilting Henry Fish: The Quilt.  Yes I am.  The backing is made.  The label is on.  The basting is done and Bernie is doing his thing.

Hopefully the label isn't too optimistic ...

It took the whole kitchen floor to baste ...

But Bernie is doing just fine. There is no way Teeny Weeny would have coped. She has gone on to Trade Me. I'd feel guilty, except I need the cash in to pay for Bernie!

The initial straight line quilting is done and ... No puckers.  Oh yeah. 

I think the border will be stippled. Then I'll decide what else to do. 

Yippee skippy. Maybe, just maybe, it will be done by next Friday. 

Linking up with Crazy Mom and Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Howdy!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Wintery Wednesday

Brrrrrrrr. It's all freezing and rainy in New Zealand now. And although it's not technically winter, it sure feels like it. We even had hail yesterday. It was the first time Princess had seen it, so she had to go outside and get one of the "ices". Which she promptly ate. That's my girl.

Despite the yuck weather, I am all smuggy pants. Why you ask?  Because I have finished two, that's right, two things this week.  So it's not even WIP Wednesday. Nope - it's Whipped it Wednesday. 

First, I finished my Trip Around the World scrappy quilt, blogged about on Monday. Here's the photo again, because I like it so much. 

Scrap happy

And now my Cherish Nature quilt. Woo hoo.  The photos are dire, because I took them inside at night. It's way too gross outside. I am so pleased this is done. I just want to move on to something more enjoyable, without feeling guilty. The binding has been added, and I quilted some crosses through the middle of the blocks. Not a great design choice - more just to stop it falling apart. But now it can go into the wash and then on to the couch - where it is definitely needed for snuggling!

One finished quilt.  First mentioned here.  That was a while ago.

Well the binding looks okay!

Those photos really are dull. A bit like how I feel about the quilt, really. Now I only have two things left on the WIP list - Henry Fish and Puffy Quilt.  Are you impressed with my good finishing behaviour?

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Hi ya if you are visiting from there!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Yee ha!

I finished my little scrappy trip around the world quilt. Yay for me. It got bound yesterday because BQF told me to pull my socks up and get it done. Now I have that warm fuzzy feeling of accomplishment.  No giving her credit though, mind you. 

So here it is. I straight line quilted it on Bernie with a blue variegated Gutermann quilting cotton for a number of reasons. First, I wanted to try out Bernie's straight stitch. I ended up using a 4mm stitch, and he sure was dreamy to use compared to Teeny Weeny. And sooo fast. As I said to BFQ, I think the reason people have great quilting must have as much to do with the right tools as your skill.  Not to say you don't have to have skill, but it sure is simpler with a good sewing machine!  I used the thread because it was only a small reel and I needed a small project. Not a lot of analysis going on there. 

I quilted each row 1/2 an inch from the ditch because my seams were too wonky to stitch in the ditch. Next time I'd only do 1/4" out from the seam because I think the proportions would be better.  And hubby chose the decorative stitch for the binding. It took ages, so I won't be using it again unless it was for something special, or something tiny!

I have carefully picked photos where the seams don't look too bad. I can't have you thinking I'm that hopeless! Less rushing when cutting my strips next time, I think. There's not much point sewing perfect 1/4" seams if your strips aren't straight :-)

And all from scraps and Yee Ha cowboys sale fabric from Spotlight!  

The binding isn't quite that dark - it is just the light. 

All done.  BQF said orange binding, not blue. She was right (naturally).

Happy cowboys on the back!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Scrappy Trip Crazy

I know every man and their dog (or girl and their blog) has done one of these quilts, but yet again I have to say I am really enjoying this scrappy trip I'm taking. It is hard to describe the fun, so I thought I would show you in pictures. It's just all about turning those ugly fabrics into little Cinderellas, so that they can look good at the ball too.  I will pop the link to the great tutorial by Quiltville up on my resources page, if you haven't already seen it. 

See. Start with your ugly fabrics in your 2.5" strips. Uggggh.  Well the polka dots are cute, I guess. 

 Start the magic.  

Looking better . . . Just don't look too hard at the bottom left hand corner, there was a little teensy weensy unpicking disaster. 

All tidied up and ready for the ball...

And ta-da.  The magic happens.  I think I need to play with my layout a bit more, but it's getting there. 

So I get why everyone loves these. They're just kinda fun.  And nice big blocks. I have just six left to do and then I'm going to start playing with Bernie's quilting stitches. Soooo cool.  Well unless I stuff it up!

Linking up with Crazy Mom and Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Rain, rain, rain

That's what's happening here in Auckland at the moment. Thunder, lightening and endless rain. It really is autumn.

I am being a good stay at home mother and tidying up all of Princess' old clothes.  I don't understand how one little girl can have so much stuff. It is all bulk listed on Trade Me and the local Op Shop got the rest.   I have been meaning to do it since I got pregnant with the wee man!  Slowly slowly. But I feel very virtuous! 

Life is just as slow on the quilting front.  I would LOVE to have a whole day to sit down with Bernie. But the wee man won't have a bar of it. I am so close to finishing Cherish Nature - all I have to do is the binding. But I'm just not motivated. Silly eh - that's usually the best bit. 

The reason is that I'm all distracted with these trip around the world blocks. I am just throwing them together, so the seams aren't great, but I really like these quilts. I'm only doing 16 blocks so it will fit on the wee man's cot. It is a cowboy theme, to match his curtains, and I'm mixing in some bits and bobs from my stash (I am getting a stash now - now cool is that - I feel so quilty).  Blues and browns to match his curtains and orange because hubby likes it.  One quarter down, hopefully I have more to report next week!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Life is good

This is a brag post. I'm sorry, but I just have to tell you about my quilty awesomeness. 

First, Bernie has arrived. He has replaced Barbarella as my One True Love.  He is smooth and strong and fast. I love him big time. We are making some trip around the world blocks for a mini quilt for the wee man's cot. I have no idea why because it certainly wasn't on my to do list, but they're fun and use up some cheap fabric I got at Spotlight. 

Don't look too close because my seam matching is a bit slapdash.  I really should use pins. 

Secondly, this arrived.  That's right, 30 fat quarters of Tula Pink. Jealous?  Oh yeah.  I have no idea what I'm going to do with it because I suspect it is an offence to cut into this fabric. I just keep rearranging the pile to see which way it looks the prettiest. Those little ladybugs are cute, eh. 

Happy, happy days.  If the wee man would sleep, it would be perfect!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Pure Puff

Guess what has been hiding on my WIP list?  That's right. A puff quilt.

It all started once upon a time, a long, long, time ago, back when a girl bought her first charm pack.  It was a pack of Circa 1934 by Moda.  The girl bought it for her mother, because she thought her mother would like it. Which she did. Kind of. But not as much as she liked Henry Fish. So the girl bravely gave up Henry Fish, and put the charm pack away for later.  

Because the girl was new to quilting, she didn't really know what to do with the charm pack.  But during her long adventurous journey through blogland (where she met lots of lovely people) she came across a puff quilt tutorial.  The tutorial said to use 5" squares (the link is not the one she found - the link uses 6" squares).  Perfect thought the girl.  I have a charm pack for that.  And it's easy so I can do it, even though the charm pack doesn't match anything I have or anything that anyone else I know has. 

The girl starting sewing the little puffy squares that didn't match anything she had.  She made about 40 of them.  And then she realised she needed many, many, many more. So she bought some matching fabric, and made some more little puffy squares. 

Puffilious.  Time to make more.  Lots more.

And then she got bored and packed it in a box for a rainy day.  But she likes the fabric, so it will get finished eventually!

The End

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Monday, 13 May 2013

The trouble with Cherish Nature

I was so hoping to tell you I had finished my quilt, but sad to say, I can't. 

This is Cherish Nature.  Unfinished, but so close.  Grrrrr.  Called Cherish Nature because I couldn't think of anything more original and that is the name of the fabric.  This was the third quilt top I ever finished and it has been sitting around since I started this blog.  I made it out of a jelly roll pattern from a Pam Lintott book which I modified slightly by adding sashing.  It isn't my favourite quilt in the world, but I don't hate it now either. I think the main problem is that the jelly roll didn't have the full fabric range, and so was very brown. And brown is boring. But with lots of white and the duck egg polka dot backing, I think it looks brighter.  I do love the bee fabric though. And the eggs. 

 There was a Quilting Crisis earlier in the week.  The world as we know it nearly ended.*  See.

Luckily I had very sensibly not gotten around to putting a label on before basting, so some of the puckering can be hidden by a strategically placed patch.  I need to unpick the rest. That is what you get for basting something and then leaving it sitting around.  Lesson learned. Well probably not, but we will see. 

I'm not going to show you a close up of the front. But I can say there are perfectly good reasons why you should iron your backing properly, start straight line quilting from the middle and baste really, really well.  It's back to basics next time to achieve lovely smooth quilting!  But I just want this quilt finished and it's for me, so I haven't agonised over it. If it was a gift I would have unpicked the whole thing, re-basted, and started quilting again. A new machine would help with getting a more even stitch length (Teeny Weeny just cannot handle straight line quilting anything large) but I can hardly blame her for my sloppy basting skills!

On that note, something very very exciting is coming to live here next Monday.  That's right, a new sewing machine.  *ballerina twirl*  Someone said buying a new machine is worse than a new car.  That's so right. I'm getting a Bernina 550QE.  They seem to have lots of good reviews, and it was lovely to sew with. I would really like the super big one, but it was a million dollars so there was no way.  Sewing machines are EXPENSIVE. 

So when I get the last few lines of Cherish Nature done, I'll be able to do Henry Fish: The Quilt.  Yay yay yay.

Linking up with Crazy Mum and Confessions of a Fabric Addict. 

* this may be a dramatisation of actual fact for comic effect. Alternatively, there may be a Vogon about to complete a Hyperspace Bypass up there right now.  In that case I am correct but will not have long to enjoy the moment. 

Liebster Love

An eternity ago (or maybe three months) the lovely Jennifer (aka Glinda) from Glinda Quilts nominated me for a Liebster Blog award. Isn't that sweet?  I promptly kept quilting and so it kept slipping to the bottom of my to-do list.  It is a great way to get to know new blogs and welcome new bloggers to the bloggy fold.

Jennifer has set out all the rules.  On the basis that I couldn't possibly cover all the things I am supposed to, I thought I would simply tell you five things about me that you don't know and answer Jennifer's questions.  I am always fascinated by the gruesome details of people's lives, and assume everyone finds mine beyond interesting, so here goes with five fun facts:

1. I am a crazy science fiction fan. I would totally go to Comic Con if they had it here in NZ. My favourite books of all times are the Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy. They are epic. You must read them.  A million words of sci-fi, adventure, romance, horror and a dash of philosophical pondering about the origin of it all. And with a handsome rakish hero. In fact, the wee man has the same name as the lead character (not deliberately, but it is a happy coincidence).  As for TV I am all about Farscape, Firefly, Stargate and pretty much every other sci-fi series that has been cancelled.  An attractive male lead is just a pleasant bonus.

2. I really only became a lawyer by mistake. When I was younger I wanted to be a vet, and later something arty or design focussed. By the end of seventh form, I thought I had better apply for university and figured I'd do anything that made money!  Medicine was out because I hadn't done sciences, and accounting was out because I hadn't done maths (that goodness!). Law it was. I now swear that every lawyer is just a frustrated arts student. Thank goodness for quilting, eh.

3. Hubby and I go crazy growing tomatoes every year. We have now developed a bit of a thing for unusual and heritage varieties. This year we grew Indigo Rose (a new purple and black large cherry tomato), black krim (our favourite), and orange and red oxhearts, among others. They get made into Harvest Sauce, Tomato Relish and Tomato Sauce. It's all good.

All ready for the oven and Harvest Sauce goodness.  Yum.

4. We bought both our dogs on sale. Isn't that terrible? I couldn't believe that puppies needed to be discounted, so they ended up with us. Of course they're both nuts. I guess what people say about getting what you pay for is true!

5. I secretly would love to make a living from writing romance novels. Wouldn't that be great? Sitting somewhere lovely, looking out the window, while creating happy endings. However, I suspect like most other jobs, it would not be as great as it seems. And deep down I quite like being a lawyer. I'm not too bad at it and I have a lovely team to work with.

In answer to Jennifer's questions:

1) How did you start patchwork and quilting?

BQF persuaded me.  It's her fault.

2) What do you wish you were good at?

Playing an instrument.

3) Is your glass half empty or half full?

Usually half full.  Unless it's half empty.  But that's only on a bad day.  Like when my quilting puckers.

4) Do you speak another language? If not, which one would you like to speak?

Nup.  Hmmmm.   Not much use in NZ for another language, but probably French.  It sounds lovely.

5) Do you feed the birds?

Yep - they come and steal the chicken food.  Bernadette and Henrietta don't appreciate it, but there's enough for everybody.

6) What's your favourite movie?

That's tricky.  Legally Blonde.  The original Star Wars trilogy.  Heaps of others.  I love going to the movies. 

7) Do you prefer hot or cold puddings?

Both!  How could you not?  That's just pudding prejudice.  Molten Chocolate Pots, Date pudding with hot caramel sauce, pavlova with strawberries and cream, lemon meringue pie.  I am hungry just thinking about it.  I make an awesome pavlova, you know.

8) If you could time travel, where would you go?

The future, when I can visit other planets and watch holographic TV and other cool futuristic things.  Well and to the odd great concert in the past too.

9) Do you like singing and if so, what's your favourite song?

When I've had too many cocktails.  Mindless pop songs (think Kylie Minogue) and pub classics (think The Gambler).  I sound like Madonna when I've had a few.  Truly awesome.

10) What's your favourite time of day and why?

Tricky again.  A fresh summer's morning, before it is too hot.  A great time to enjoy the peace of the garden before the heat and chaos kicks in.

11) If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?
Aggghhh - your questions are too hard Jennifer.  I give up.

So there you are. Why don't you head over to Glinda's and check out the other lovely people she nominated too. And unlike me, Jennifer did it all properly, so you can find out about her too.  Now I need to have a rummage around for some people to nominate, and spread the love.


Did you have a lovely Mother's Day?  I got a pedi voucher and some sewing time, so it was good in the Shush household.  The wee man did his bit by having a reasonable sleep on Saturday night too.  So thoughtful!

I have been a little bit book crazy recently. Check these cuties out.  I am also waiting for S is for Stitch, Crobots and Creepy Cute Crochet to arrive.  Book Depository is awesome.  All the goodness of Amazon but with free international shipping.  When you live at the end of the earth, that's important.

Fabric money spent on books.  Sensible?  Probably not.

It's Crazy Mom's fault that I got S is for Stitch. Did you see her post about Soft Kitty?  She made the book sound perfect for beginners, which is where I'm at.  The last time I embroidered something, I was at school.  It's been a wee while since then, I tell you!  And I have also spotted these truly gorgeous wee vintage chore girls over at Super Mom No Cape's place (awesome name right - wish I had thought of that).  I need help if I am to do them credit. 

The cushion book is my favourite - that's just from Spotlight.  They are super super cute.  I am not a massive cushion fan - I think I had too many in the 90s and am over the idea now.  I mean where do you put them all?  But the ideas are fantastic and will be great for pillowcases and quilts anyway.  And I probably have space for one or two cushions, right?  And gifts.  Cushions are good gifts aren't they?

The two softies books were irresistible.  I suspect I will never get round to making any of them, and again - where would they go.  But steam punk and zombie softies - who thinks of this stuff?  Not me, that's for sure. 

Right, back to work.  Mother is arriving from the Deepest South on Friday, and I have a quilt to finish so I can get Henry Fish: The Quilt basted before her arrival.  She'll never know I haven't been hard at work on him.  She thought the pillowcase was great, although didn't wait until Mother's Day to open him - even though I said in her card she wasn't to open it early.  *sigh*  

At least he has a good home.   

Friday, 10 May 2013

Coffee Couture

One Nespresso machine cover all done.  This was not my most favourite project.  Nah uh.  I didn't mind the straight line quilting (I used the edge of the walking foot as a guide).  In fact, that was therapeutic after an incredibly frustrating meeting earlier in the day.  And I love the texture it gave.  I didn't sit there stroking it.  Not at all.

But putting the pieces together was a big old pain.  As was the binding.  Hubby looked bemused when I tried to explain that a simple curved box shape was much trickier than a quilt.  I think he is unconvinced.

But it's all done now.  I still love the fabric despite the sewing agony, which is by Zesti over at Spoonflower.  She has gorgeous designs, including some great fairy tale inspired lines which I think are dying to be made into children's quilts. I finished the cover off with some left over binding from Sweetie Pie.  I thought the little pattern was a bit like a Japanese character, and the black tied in.  Everything else I looked at seemed far too busy. And black on a kitchen bench has a certain practical appeal.

However I think Barbarella will remain naked for a while as I am not inspired to launch into her cover. She can just stay on the bench revelling in her raspberry ice glamour. Tackling Henry Fish: The Quilt would be more satisfying.  On that note, I wrapped up Henry Fish's pillowcase and sent it off for Mother's Day yesterday.  It was sad to say bye!

Linking up to Crazy Mom and Can I get a Whoop Whoop.

My favourite little Bambi all quilted up.

Sad Nespresso machine with hubby's super useful cover.

Happy Nespresso machine all dressed up.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Thundery Thursday

It's dreary times in Auckland at the moment. Rain, rain and more rain. So pretty much a typical autumn!

I have been paralysed by indecision, having finished Sweetie Pie, which is being well loved already by Princess and the rest of the family. It's that snuggly backing, I tell you. Because I can't decide on the next quilt (too many fabric choices - who would have thought?) I am working on my quilting chores. I have started cutting the zombie fabric into 6" charms, but hubby hasn't finalised his fabric choices, so I got bored with that and stopped. At least they're half done, right?

Instead I decided to make Barbarella's (my new name for my Kitchenaid) cover. Having looked at it more closely, I concluded a test run on a cover for the (much smaller) Nespresso machine was in order. Just as well. Why is it the little, simple looking things end up being the most tricky and time consuming?

Anyway, this is where I'm at. Getting there slowly. It is now the right size, and after several lots of unpicking, the curved seams are smooth and sit together properly. I am now binding with little 2" strips, because I didn't want the binding to stand out. It is working out okay, but the binding on the end is going over two thicknesses of fabric, so I am going slowly, slowly.

BQF has sent through a pic of her block for her latest jelly roll quilt (from a Pam Lintott pattern). I have block envy. Cute, eh!

Linking up over at WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced:

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Quilt Show madness

BQF, the wee man and I headed off to a quilt show in Parnell today. We had a lovely juvely time. The problem we face is how expensive these things are. It's not so much the $5 entrance fee as the lovely new linen/cotton Japanese fabrics, Riley Blake Christmas prints and 1950s vintage inspired range that hit the wallet. And then a lovely lunch. And then a little bit of a trip to Spotlight to get the rest of the bits and bobs for BQF's next quilty endeavour. Where I might have got a new book and some backing. Sheesh. Are there special groups for people like us?

Me: "Hi, I'm Liz and I'm a fabric addict. I've been clean from buying fabric for 3 days now".
Group: *applause* "Hi Liz, well done".

Anyhow, here are some highlights from the show. These are not so much pieces I would make myself as original or inspiring! The photo quality is shocking and the light was terrible, so bear with me.

First up is an appliqué piece by a lady called Rosemary Rush. It is called Feathered Friends. It is her own design and used hand dyed and commercial fabrics. I was particularly taken by the gorgeous quilting. The colours were fresh and lovely, although it doesn't show through so much in the photo.

Next is a gorgeous little house which was originally a quilt book. It was inspired by women of strength and has embroidery, inspirational quotes and printed images. Helen Harford made this.

The butterfly quilt was hand pieced and hand quilted by Gail Moore for her daughter's 21st birthday - out of reproduction 1930s prints her daughter had collected. A beautiful girlie quilt which must have been a labour of love. It was huge.

I loved the little scifi inspired quilt. I forgot to get the quilter's details, but I remember that it was inspired by her brother's love of all things science fiction. The photo doesn't begin to do justice to how quirky and cute this was.

Finally, the handsome fellow at the end has popped over from BQF's place. That's Roger. He says meow and wonders why his mummy hasn't made him his own quilt. Bad mummy.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Sweetie Pie is served

All done. *skip*

The world's most boring stippling is over. The binding is on. Princess is delighted. In terms of its target market (three year old pink cupcake obsessed little girls) I think it looks great.

The candlewick was surprisingly easy to quilt. I don't know what you were all making such a fuss about. However I wouldn't want to stipple all over. I think it would distort too much. Because I only stippled the borders, I had a lot of empty space to keep it square.

It's the perfect weight without batting, so I am glad I listened to my helpful advisors and left it out. Not that I had a choice really - Teeny Weeny wouldn't have had a bar of it. And my new quilting needles were great, although I managed to break one on the binding when it couldn't cope with the corner. I know now for next time.

Here's a photo overload. The cats say hello to everyone popping over from Crazy Mom's and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Meet the fur family (part I)

I am procrastinating about finishing Sweetie Pie by blogging (44 borders down, 12 to go - in my mind it's finished already, so I'm struggling to actually do it).

I see from my bloggy reading that every self respecting quilter has a cat or two. Here are ours. The chocolate point is Toby (his posh name is Toblerone - geddit?) and his lazy lilac point brother is Moby. Super original. They like to camouflage themselves in minky and fluffy - the blankets. They think quilts are lovely, especially when freshly washed. Toby is about 10 and Moby a year younger. We got Moby after Toby started pulling his hair out - shortly after I met hubby. He is a truly neurotic Siamese and did not like sharing his mummy. The boys are as thick as thieves, but having a friend never fixed the hair pulling. So we have one manky very expensive Siamese and one fat lazy Siamese. No show stoppers for us. They are not fans of the dogs, but the dogs live outside most of the time, so we don't have too much pet wrangling on our hands.

In other news, I've registered for the very fabulous BOM over at Cabbage Quilts. Go and have a look. I reckon I'll learn heaps if I get it finished. It's right out of my comfort zone in terms of style - I'm all about simple blocks and lots of white - but I think it works on that quilt. And there are lots of things there I have never done: hand piecing and hand quilting for a start. BQF is dilly dallying about signing up and my nagging hasn't worked so far. Feel free to tell her she must do it. Peer pressure is very effective.

The wee man has woken. That'll keep me busy.