Monday, 28 October 2013

G is for Goal and Gift: ABC BOW week 8

Week 8.  Week 8???  Wow.

Here's my Goal.  I initially thought it was a bit boring, but I love the texture of the net and now it's finished I think it's pretty clever. What do you think? Other than that it needs another iron.  We can all pretend it's perfectly pressed.

G is for goal.

And I do like me a space robot. I think it's because they remind me of the Jetsons, which I loved big time when I was a littlie. 

What have you been doing?  Come show us.  And I hope you had a good weekend - I sure did!


Lovely long weekends!

We have been having just the loveliest long weekend here.  Mr Shush had a great list of gardening chores, including (of course) planting all the tomatoes we have grown from seeds.  We have quite a few, including some we haven't tried before: Brandywine Yellow, Green Zebra, Black from Tula, Tompom, Sugar Plum, Big Red, Indigo Rose and our old favourite - Black Krim (the best for pretty much everything except looks).  Anyway, they're all snug and happy in the garden now ready to grow, grow, grow.

And because we're planting this season's tomatoes, I felt obliged to do something with the remainder of last year's crop left in the freezer.  So I am now a smuggy pants with six jars of yum yum pigs bum tomato pasta sauce. Oh, and I went all out for housewife of the year by cooking up some of the loquats too.  I tried a lime and loquat dressing (definitely recommended) and a loquat BBQ sauce (I'll report back in a few months when we open it).

In between all that I did some sewing too.  (Phew, I know, right?!  I'm sure you feel overwhelmed and inadequate in the face of all that achievement.  I'm not going to tell you it only took a couple of hours, and that hubby had to do all the clean up in between sorting out the garden.  And that the rest of the house looked like a bomb site for most of the weekend.  Let's not ruin a good thing.)

I was thoroughly sick of not getting any sewing done for aaaaaages, so I got out my Briar Rose charm pack and put together a baby quilt top.  I've had this idea for a while of getting through some simple baby quilts, and this is my first one.  Super basic, quick to make, stash busting, and great for pressies when the need arises.  I'm thinking of a series of 10.  Perhaps before I get to number 9, I'll do a cool little button! 

Heather Ross Briar Rose charm pack quilt.  Quick and easy

It's hard to believe, but I've never done a plain sashed charm quilt, so here it is.  I struggled with the layout - I wanted to shade one colour into the next, but that didn't really work with these charms, so I went low volume to high volume.

I do love me some orange - blame hubby - it used to be my least favourite colour.

I'm going to back it with some pink candlewick, so there'll be no need to use batting.  I think the whole thing took a couple of hours from start to finish.  The biggest problem was the layout.  I'll give all the details when it's quilted and finished.  Beginners - this will be the quilt to get you started!

Witch costume (size 4 - length size 6 - I'm starting as I mean to go on)

Finally, Princess has decided that Halloween is the next big thing.  I think she needs to move to the States, because here it is no big deal - although she does get to have a dress up day at day care.  I was informed that she wanted to be a witch (she was Thomas the Tank Engine last year, so I think she's got the hang of it a bit more!).  We have a large hat with a sparkly buckle to go with the dress.  Too cute.

I found the awesome faux velvet with glitter cobwebs at Spotlight, where I bought the pattern - my first since sixth form at school.  It came together pretty quickly though - all this quilting has certainly improved my sewing times. 

How are you all?  What have you been up to?  I'm going to head back into my work cave for the next week, so I hope you get to have some lovely sewing time.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

WIP Wednesday: how to glue baste EPP diamonds

Well quilty friends, you asked for it - how do I glue baste my English paper piecing?  So here's the low down. Although I warn you now, I took the photos after work in the evening, so they're not very pretty!

First though, here are some blocks I've sewn in the last little while. I've got back into the swing of these - first because Hydeeann's EPP link up party made me do some basting, and secondly because hubby is painting the lounge and Bernie has been unplugged (first world problems).  The outrage, right?! So it's hand sewing or nothing. To be fair, some nights it's been nothing. 

Gingham - you're almost as cute as spots

Liberty stile and vintage cards

But here's the important stuff.  You need to gather your fabric, your glue pen and your template. I use the lovely precut ones which are a nice thick quality. I don't know if glue basting would work well on thin paper. 

One 2" diamond, one piece of yucky fabric and the magic pen

Put a thin line of glue on the edge of the fabric - on opposite sides. You don't glue near where you'd sew, because that will make it hard to sew. And you do opposite sides so the fabric doesn't stretch unevenly. 

For the avoidance of doubt - the blue is the glue.  It drys clear.

Fold the fabric over and stick it down. Then glue the other two sides. 

15 seconds later - half way done.

Stick them down. 

And done.  That's it.

Repeat a million billion times and then sew together to make a beautiful quilt. Then send me your gifts for improving your EPP experience. And before you ask, yes, the papers just peel out and can be reused. 

Lots of diamonds.  Remember to wag those "tails" the same way each time

I hope that's helpful. Linking up to all the mid week linky parties (links on my linky page) and to Hydeeann's party. Howdy visitors!

splish splash stash

Sunday, 20 October 2013

F is for farty Fort and Feather: ABC BOM week 7

Wow the weather here has been AWESOME this weekend. As a result, I had absolutely no desire to quilt, and instead spent most of the weekend in the garden. The loquat tree is covered in fruit, so Princess and I spend a good deal of time sitting in the sunshine eating loquats. She informed me they tasted like pineapple lollies. Cute. But perhaps a little off the mark!

I did manage to get a block finished though. Here it is. I really like this one - although I'm not loving that really irritating bit of red thread sitting in the middle of the photo. Although I have to confess, I couldn't be bothered taking another one. Heh. Sorry!

Grrr - cotton lint

For an explanation of the farty reference, you can have a read of this post over at the Stash Books blog. They're a sophisticated bunch over at Stash, I tell you!

What have you been doing?  Anything lovely?  I imagine it's starting to get chillier up in the northern hemisphere. 

Link up with your ABC blocks and show us what you've been doing - and go and show your friends some linky love. 

I hope you had a lovely weekend!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Citrus Sweet Love: HST madness

One downside of being back at work is that my Cirus Sweet Love BOM isn't finished within 24 hours of it arriving in the post. Although having said that, maybe that's a good thing!

For October we had a machine pieced block and an appliqué block to complete. I've managed to finish the machine pieced block!

56 half square triangles to cut and sew together into little squares. Did I put the wrong colours togethers, have to unpick and resew them?  Oh yes. 

Did I sew some of the little squares in the wrong place, have to unpick and resew them? Oh yes. 

Did I finish the block, show it to hubby and then realise one of the large squares in the middle was angled the wrong way?  Oh yes. Did I have to unpick the whole damn thing and sew it back together? You guessed it ... Yes. 

Am I going to show you a photo of that?  I don't think so!

Linky up to WIP Wednesday, Needle and Thread Thursday and Show n Tell (links on my linky page). Hello visitors!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

ABC BOW Week 6: now I know my ABC

Phew, I'm all blogged out this week, so this will be a short one. As I mentioned last week, I thought I would start on the text blocks, so I can start to put my top row together.

So, without further ado, this is what I did.  You'll see I put a comma, not a full stop, at the end. I think that ties in better with the next text block. 

Still wonky, but improving

What have you been up to, fellow ABC quilters?  I bet there are some lovely F blocks out there. Let's have a look!

Don't forget to link your post, not your whole blog, and go and leave some lovely comments.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

EPP Party Time

Goodness it's blowing a storm outside. It's just as well really, because I've realised that it's Hydeeann's first EPP (English Paper Piecing) linky party today, I've done no EPP for aaaages, and I need to do something quick smart to link up. 

That would be because I'd sewn up all the diamonds I had basted and needed to baste this pile before I could do any more. My plan to do this before I returned to work had ended in naught. 

132 cut diamonds to baste.  Pretty to look at, not to baste.

Hmmmm. That doesn't look like a lot of fun really, does it?!  But never fear, I had my new glue pen to trial. Can you see that price tag for a teeny tiny glue stick. *gasp*. The big question is, would it be any better than its larger, $4 comrade?

The battle of the glue pens commences

Well, sadly I have to confess, it is better. You'd expect so, really, but I really would prefer to tell you to save your money. The sew line glue pen is really fine, which means it puts a lovely thin line of glue on.  It's just the right amount of sticky, and best of all, didn't make a mess.  So that pile at the top turned into this in about an hour. 

Quilting satisfaction.  Oh yeah.

Yep, that's 72 lovely glue basted diamonds.  Just like that. And I also did the six diamonds to go with the liberty hexagon I had already started. 

Liberty.  Enough said.

Impressed?  I was pretty pleased. Overall I do like my new glue pen, but I have to say, if you're short of cash, the UHU glue stick did the job too.  It was just a little bit messier. I'll certainly keep it as a back up.

Now I've got no excuse to start sewing these all together. 

Linking up to Hydeeann's monthly linky EPP party. Come and have a look!

splish splash stash

Friday, 11 October 2013

Friday finish - log cabin pillow

Look at what we've been doing in the Shush household.  

You might be thinking that's a pretty cute pillow we've been making. The sort you'd whip up for a fourth birthday present for the little best friend of your Princess. Quick and easy, but pretty and useful.  And having the upside of wowing the little friend's non-sewing mummy. All good.

What you don't realise is that this pretty aqua blue pinky red log cabin ensemble is in fact the devil in disguise. Yes siree. A wicked pillow designed to tax the most patient and gracious of sewers.* You'd never believe it to look at it, right? A 3.5" centre block with 2.5" strips finishing 23" square. How hard could it be?

One new pillow.

Well, not so hard at first, I guess.  There was lots of fun choosing some fabrics.  Not so much fun cutting them up - but entirely bearable. And the sewing of the top went well enough. Princess announced it wasn't big enough, so I added some more strips. Not so bad either.

Then the quilting commenced. A small snag arose. This is mainly because I know in my heart of hearts that I can quilt as well as Angela Walters. There is just the small matter of getting some practice under my belt. Sometimes I forget that I haven't had that much practice. Or in the case of this quilting - any practice at all.  I thought I would do some cute little swirls with flowers interspersed, just like Kristyne's example at Pretty by Hand

Because you are all my quilty friends - I'll give you a hint. It's a really good idea to try new quilting patterns on some scrap fabric AT LEAST ONCE before you launch on to your completed quilt top.  And then, if it turns out you're not a massive fan (minor understatement) of your crappy quilting,  it is not a good idea to do even more swirly whirly quilting over the top of it in a wildly prominent colour. 


You know why?  Because instead of finishing your pillow, you spend three hours inside on a sunny Saturday afternoon unpicking your really bad bright blue thread quilting so that only the original not so noticeable but crappy quilting remains. 

Enough said. 

Obviously I was going for a more subtle rustic look than Kristyne's tutorial imagined

Having learned a little from that exercise, hubby was then nominated to pick the binding fabric so the whole damn nightmare could get finished before the Sunday morning party.  And, just to top it off, you'll be pleased to know that one of the seams on the binding ended up on a corner.  Yeah - I should know better. But after some very slow stitching and finger crossing, I managed to get through it without breaking a needle. Yippee. 

So here it is all finished.  It has an envelope back. It needed a couple of press studs to help keep the back closed, but given I was speeding back from Spotlight with the pillow inner 15 minutes before the party started, there was no way that was going to happen.**  It didn't even get wrapped. But Princess was very proud carrying her ginormous pillow into the party, announcing "this is my present". So all's well that ends well.

Artsy glamour shot of evil nemesis log cabin pillow

There had been a prior brief moment of crisis when Princess had informed me that she didn't think it should be given to her friend as a gift. However this passed when she clarified that was because she wanted to keep the pillow for herself. What better endorsement could there be?

Next time I'll be straight line quilting. 

Happy weekend!  Linking up to the end of week linky parties. Howdy visitors. 

* to be clear I am neither patient nor gracious.
** this is not a dramatisation for comic effect. I've also missed out the significant yelling match with Princess to get in the car so we could get to the party before it was finished and all this sewing agony was in vain. Because, naturally, this was all about me. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

WIP Wednesday: pottering along

Hello my quilty friends. What have you been up to this week?  I have been a wee bit sick, so you need to feel sorry for me now.  Well a little bit more sorry than that ... okay, that's enough.  I feel a little better now.

Despite my feverish brow, I have been doing a little bit of this:

Don't you just love those little dancers?

And this:

Pandas, deer and liberty.  It's a cuteplosion.

I'm loving these granny squares - they're quicker than you'd think to put together.  I have now made the effort to use a scant 1/4" seam, so these blocks are roughly the same size as the ones I have from Mila + Cuatro (unlike this one), and with a bit of wiggling and squidging with the sashing, they should fit together. 

Here they are all on the design wall.  No judging the photo - my design wall is a king sized sheet pinned up in our narrow and poorly lit hallway. Taking a photo of it is a nightmare!  But I figured you should see it, in the interests of full disclosure. 

I should really run a blog series on how to take truly awful photos - I'm an expert, after all.

My blocks are the top far left, top far right, second row far left, third row middle and bottom row middle. Sarah did the rest. I have gone for a totally scrappy look rather than trying to blend too much, given how different all the fabrics are - although I have stuck with lighter colours to balance out Sarah's darker blocks. I like the mix. I think I'm going to sash it up with really wide white strips and then maybe do some patchwork squares on the border. What do you think?

And because you guys all seem to care about BQF's Reunion chevron quilt more than what I've been up to, here is her finished quilt top. My feelings aren't hurt one bit by that. Nope. 

At least something looks good!

I know, it's awesome, right?!  I'm not the least bit jelly. (That's a jelly roll pun - you can groan now). 

Linking up to the mid-week linky parties. Howdy visitors!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Pay it forward

Last week I signed up for a pay it forward (PIF) at Quilts of a Feather, and so now it is your opportunity to be a part of the fun and sign up to get a little gift from me (yeah, I know, that might not be everything it's cracked up to be!)

Here are the "rules" (as taken from Mareen's blog).

  1. I will create a crafty gift for each of the first three people who comment to this post. This is a surprise, and will arrive to you anytime within the next year.
  2. In signing up for PIF, you are committing yourself to the project...someone pays it forward to you, so you pay it forward to others! Just post this, or something similar so others can get involved. Basically you will create your own post where you create gifts for 3 people as well.
  3. You need to have an active blog of your own... (or some way to post up your PIF info like a flickr, pinterest, or Facebook account. You'll need a place to announce your own PIF and to post some pics of the process.)
  4. After commenting on this post, post something similar on your blog... so you can spread the PIF love! 

I will email you asking for your mailing address and the online address where you are posting your PIF info so I can get your crafty treat in the mail. Please make sure your email address is visible on your profile or leave it in the comment. 

And here is a little pic of some pretty fabric - just because!  These are from Miss Matatabi on Etsy.

Also, in your comment tell me your favourite colour(s), or something else relevant or interesting about yourself so I have some small hint of what to make.  I'm really looking forward to this - and I'm happy to send internationally.  Let's spread some happiness :-)

I hope you're having a lovely week.  Thanks for stopping by!

ABC BOW week 5: E is for Energy and Egg

Goodness, we're one sixth done with our ABC quilts.  Have you had a look at the Flickr group?  All your blocks are looking gorgeous.

We're racing along!  For once, I'm pretty pleased with how this week's block turned out. My letters are still a bit wonky, but I think my little energy picture is great. What a great idea for the letter E!

E is for energy!  I think this one is going to be pretty apt for the wee man.

I thought the little space robots were a good mix with the embroidery. What do you think?  How are your blocks coming along?  I'm having fun with the little pictures, but I think next week I'll do one of the word blocks - I'd quite like to get every block done in the top row so I can lay them out and admire them. Do you do that too or am I a quilt layout weirdo?

I can definitely see me using these embroideries for cushions or some other one off projects - it would be a lovely touch for a gift. If you are doing anything small, show it off with a link or on the flickr group - I'd love to see it!

Anyway time to link up people. Show us what you've been doing, and don't forget to go and show your quilty comrades some linky love!


Friday, 4 October 2013

Other people's finishes: the Hamilton Craft Fair and Quilt show

It seems like an eternity ago that BQF, her mummy and I traipsed down to Hamilton (an hour and a half drive south of Auckland, and often affectionately referred to as The Tron) to go to the craft fair and quilt show. I managed to resist buying much (although I have a sew line glue pen to try when I next grab my EPP out) but I did love love love some of the quilts in the show. Because I don't have my own finish to brag about this week, I thought you might like to look at some of these!

These photos are just awful, because it was inside, I only had my ipad, and people kept getting in the way.  But these were my favourites, which I took pics of in the hope I would one day be inspired to try something similar myself. 

First is this great quilt made from a template.  This photo does not begin to show how bright and vibrant this was, and look at the hand quilting. I also now have a new appreciation for those curves!

'Communist Partee' by Debra DeLorenzo - started in a Kathy Doughty class

This is the whole quilt.  If you squint, and imagine brighter colours, you'll get the idea!

Bed quilt sized!

This art quilt was truly amazing. I don't think I'll ever be trying anything like this, but you have to admire the skill that goes into art quilts. 

'I am Nujood and I am free!'  Gillian Shearer, NSW - about a 10 yo Yemeni girl who obtained a divorce from her 35 yo husband to play with her friends and go back to school.

Check these yoyos out. And that quilting!  Again, these photos don't begin to do the quilt justice - those yoyos were very pretty soft colours. 

It turns out I forgot to get the quilter's name.  Eeeekk.

Here's the whole quilt. That's right, there are 324 yoyos. Craaaaaazy. That's yoyo dedicatIon. 

What hours of painstaking labour looks like.

And this was my favourite. Those little strips were about 1/2". I totally would have nicked off with this quilt if I could have gotten away with it!

'Kermit's 9 Patch' by Debra DeLorenzo - traditional courthouse steps using Japanese fabrics

Here's the whole quilt. Another example of a truly awesome amount of work!  I bet this would have Amanda Jean in a scrap frenzy (I feel like I can talk about her as if we're besties, or maybe even distantly acquainted, because in my mind we are). 

That's 14 x 14 blocks.  How's your maths?

And finally, for a bit of fun, here is Roger discussing with BQF how he feels about her sewing some more on her quilt top.  I'm suspecting he is not feeling entirely supportive of her crafty needs. 

Yeah, no, I don't think so Mum.

Are you inspired my quilty friends?  What have you been up to this week?  I feel like I have only just survived this week, but perked up on getting home this evening to discover hubby had baked a cake. I know, right?!  What a sweetie. 

Linking up to some linky parties for some linky love. Howdy visitors. Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely weekend :-)

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

WIP Wednesday - starting a new project!

Hello my lovely quilty friends!  It seems like forever since I've talked to you. I think that's because I have all sorts of other things distracting me from my quilty fun. But I have managed to start a new project. Yippee!

As per usual, I'm picking something up yonkers after the craze has been and gone through blogland.  Here is my first block. That's right. It's a granny square. What do you think?

Granny square mark one

I've always thought these were so cute and they have been on my to do list for ages.  I haven't been motivated to get started until the recent Lost the Love block swap was hosted by Quokka Quilts.  I found a post by mila + cuatro, where she was looking to swap some of her granny square blocks for some fabric. Because I was just about to do some online shopping, it worked out perfectly for me - more shopping in return for some premade blocks!

"I'll hold it here Mummy, okay?"

Princess was sooooo helpful when I was trying to take these photos tonight. "I want to hold it mummy".  But she didn't want to hold it still. Bless. 

My favorite fabric is that little 30s repro fabric. I only have three repro fabrics in my stash - I bought them recently in a closing down sale - but I think they are great. Those little prints are good for small blocks too. The only problem I've faced is that I sew a very generous 1/4" and the blocks I got in the swap have a very scant 1/4" seam - so my block is a good inch smaller. I'm not quite sure what to do about it yet, but I'll figure it out.

Linking up to all the midweek linky parties. Hope you're all having a good week, people!