Monday, 27 January 2014

Q and R: ABC BOW week 20

It's holiday weekend here in Auckland, so we are having a great Monday off.  It has been just as well, because Princess turned 4 yesterday, which required party planning of epic proportions.  It all went off smoothly without a hitch, so all is well.

And, because I have an extra day, I've managed to start cutting up and tracing my designs for the girl ABC quilt from S is for Stitch.  Heh - who would have thought I would consider another embroidered quilt?  Not me, that's for sure.  Hubby spotted the background fabric at Spotlight when we we rummaging around at sale time (read - I was throwing fabric around the store while he pretended desperately to care - even a little bit).  Well done him.  He also got kudos for using "low volume" correctly in a discussion about fabric.

There was a pink colour way, but I thought the sage green would be better for showing off all the pink and purple stitching.

And so we start again ...
What do you think?  I have some stash fabrics to pull out for the triangles, but I think that will wait until I have finished the blocks and I have the full colour way of the embroidery to help with the auditioning process.  Poor stash fabrics, they must be quaking in their shoes wondering if they will make the cut.

Here are my Q and R blocks too.  I keep changing my mind about my favourites, but these two are pretty high on my list.  I chose the colours in the quilt to match the yellow and blue in the border.  I used the Quilt (and not the Quarter) design, because here in NZ we don't have quarters.  Way to confuse a small child who is learning to read.

Q is for quilt.

R is for robot.
What have you been up to?  Link up and show us the good stuff!

I'm linking up to Sunday Stash over at Sarah Quilts to show off my new background fabric.  Come and have a look at the other yumminess.

    An InLinkz Link-up

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Shush starts stitching

Hello everyone. I have been so distracted the last little while, I haven't got around to blogging. But this time, I can't blame work. Nope. I have been sucked into the vortex of vanished time that is caused by cross stitch. But before I go into the gory details, I will show you at least something quilty that I have managed to progress.

This is my appliqué for one of my Citrus Sweet Love blocks. I haven't put the remainder of the block together, but that doesn't take long, so I'm waiting until I have all three done and then will do all of them together. I suspect that won't be done before next month's blocks arrive in the post, but we can all imagine how exciting that would be. *fantasy*

Citrus Sweet Love:  appliqué block 2

This appliqué isn't quite as tidy as my first attempt, but I still think it doesn't look too bad. I'm certainly not inclined to unpick it and do it again.  After the block is put together, there is some hand quilting to mark in the stem and to detail the flower.  That will be something else to learn ...

And this is what has been taking up all my spare time since. Cross stitch from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.  This is the Once Upon a Time monthly sampler and overall cuteness extravaganza.

That would be the dwarves doing the washing while Snow White supervises.

I think I should explain further.  I did some cross stitch many years ago - 20 at least. I gave it up because I thought it was dumb. I couldn't understand why you would do anything that required two stitches per square, when you could do needlepoint, which only took one stitch and therefore half the time. So then I moved on to Jennifer Pudney postcard sized needlepoint, which I enjoyed very much. In fact I still have a kit lurking around in the spare room somewhere which I can get out once I've finished my quilting to-do list *laugh at the futility of that comment* *snort*.

But Lucy had been doing the Woodland Sampler last year and showing her progress every once in a while.  When she posted it completed, I completely caved and went to buy it.  It was just too cute to resist.  That's when I discovered Once Upon a Time and the rest is history.  The final deciding moment was realising that the recommended linen has an opalescent thread in it so it sparkles in the light, just like little crystals. *uh-mazing*.  Oh, but expensive.  I nearly had to sell Princess and the wee man, but it was so worth it.

I am a total convert.  But it turns out I am really rubbish at cross stitch.  However Megan is a closet stitching guru and has given me a couple of great hints which I will share with you next time.  It turns out that cross stitch is a bit of an art.  Not as much as quilting, of course!  So every spare moment has been spent trying to get January finished and doing NO sewing.  My cross stitch is improving pretty quickly though, so that's good.

As further evidence of the lack of sewingness, here is my EPP kit.  It was a pleasant surprise to open it and remember I had some more diamonds basted, but no sewing has happened!  I was intending to write a post to link up with Hydeeann's monthly party, but the cross stitch intervened.  Sorry Hydee!

Liberty and Heather Ross and other diamond treats

In all the rush, I have forgotten the ABC quilt weekly link up.  Given we are half way through the week, I figure we can do Q and R this Sunday.  I won't forget *fingers crossed*.  I hope you are still enjoying it.

Linking up with Freshly Pieced, Needle and Thread Thursday and Show and Tell.  Howdy visitors!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Shush snippets

Lots of little things have been happening in the Shush household.  I thought I should mention some before I forget altogether and they never make it to the blog.

First, there has been more Citrus Sweet Love BOM catch up homework.  I have finished the 56 piece Y seam extravaganza that is the Sarah's Garden block.  Don't you just love the fabrics in these blocks?  Those girls at Treehouse Textiles sure know how to pick fabric.  Now I only have the appliqué to finish, and I have even managed to get one of those underway.

Citrus Sweet Love - December block - Sarah's Garden

In the middle, this happened.  Agghhhhh.

Block CRISIS.  Unpicking and resewing ensued.  Very lucky I had just the right amount of fabric left over.

There has also been the emergency commencement of super simple baby quilt 3, after a secretary at work had her wee bubba 10 weeks early.  That's really teeny tiny, but apparently he is doing well.  The top has been pieced, but there has been a subsequent quilting issue which means I am now having a little break from this!  I will explain when I have the energy to tell you what happened - and at least you know nothing boring happens when I make a quilt.

Fabric:  The Fox and the Houndstooth collection.

Hubby was responsible for block placement.  I had photographic evidence, but it has been deleted.  It seems there was some 'bug' on the iPad.

And excitingly, I had an amazing mail day.  The lovely Tiina sent me this Christmas parcel.  It was brimming with goodies - little handmade luggage labels, some of her mother's handmade lace (squeal), some Finnish designer fabric, a box of lollies for Princess and ...

Could this get any better?

... chocolate.  Delicious, Christmassy, creamy chocolate.  I'm speechless.

Yum, yum, yum.

Most of it has gone.  Unsurprising really.  We have no will power in this house.  Tiina and I "met" when she responded to a blog post about chocolate.  I was most excited to have a new friend in Finland (cool, right?) and we agreed to exchange chocolate at Christmas.  I have had far and away the best deal from this.  Princess was very excited to get her own little present (it is some Angry Birds lollies) and now refers to Tiina as "your bird lolly friend who lives far away".  Princess even declared spontaneously that she wanted to visit Finland.  Too cute.  Yet again, I say - I love blogging.  It's fantastic!

What have you been doing?  What nice bloggy thing has happened to you recently?  Have you found the perfect on-line tutorial?  Got a handy hint?  Met someone new?

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced to show my Citrus Sweet Love progress.  Lee has a blog hop on to show off her new book - go and have a look!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

P is for Party on dudes, I've finished my quilt: ABC BOW week 18

You will recall last week that I was having a bit of a tantrum about quilting my ABC quilt.  I was using a "hand quilting" stitch on Bernie that was doing my head in.  Not to mention that I did a bit crooked and had to unpack it.  Urgh.  It uses invisible thread too, which I am pretty sure is the devil.

I understand from comments on a post by Nicole about invisible thread that other quilters use this stitch successfully.  Me - not so much.  I think I need to investigate invisible thread a bit more.  Tell me people that use it successfully - what brand do you use?  I was using Gutermann.  Breakage city.

Anyway, I pulled up my big girl undies, stopped whinging, and got the quilt finished.  It feels AWESOME, I tell you.  As my first ever embroidery project, it took far more time than it should have, but I have learned heaps about embroidery, and I really did enjoy the process.  So I guess Kristyne deserves a big shout out for her book and for being so inspiring.

Without further ado, here is the finished quilt.  It doesn't look like I imagined at the beginning, and thanks to the pulling power of invisible thread, isn't close to flat, but it is done.

One finished ABC quilt out in the sunshine

Those blocks are 8" each finished, so the quilt is 40" x 48".  That is a good size for a wall hanging.

One finished quilt, some sweet peas, decimated swan plants and dwarf cosmos

The wee man seems pretty enamoured with it, because given a chance he would pull it off the back of a chair and try to eat it.  I suspect he will not appreciate the sheer amount of work and effort that went in to it, but I guess that never stopped anyone sewing, right?! However for now it is hung on the wall in his room, by this method, which works really well.  It is a first birthday present (he turns one in February, but I thought it best to get finished over the Christmas break).

This is the backing, which I think is so cute.  Thanks to the 40% off fabric Boxing Day sale at Spotlight, I got it for a song.  You can see from the back that I quilted two squares around each block - 1/2" from the inner seam on the orange blocks using white thread, and 1/2" from the outer seam on the blue blocks in dark grey thread.

Wee pirate boys

And, because this is P week - here is the puppy.  What a cutie.  You can see the quilting more clearly here too.

P is for Puppy

How are you getting on?  Still soldiering on?  Link up and show us.  Despite my intentions to have a break, I may have purchased a bit of fabric to start the embroideries for the girl's quilt.  It seems I love handwork after all!

I will keep working through the rest of the letters each week, so don't you stop now ...

And even though it is only Sunday, I suspect I will be linking up to everyone this week - Show and Tell Thursday, Needle and Thread Thursday, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Crazy Mom's, and TGIFF over at That's Sew Julie.  Did I forget anyone?  Go and check them out.

    An InLinkz Link-up

Friday, 10 January 2014

Super simple baby quilt two - finished

I started my plan to do 10 super simple baby quilts last year with my Briar Rose charm pack quilt. It is now sitting tucked away in the quilt cabinet waiting for either: a) a little girl to come along; or b) a baby quilt companion to hang out with. Well - there is no baby girl, but it now has a friend.

Enter super simple baby quilt two.  6 x 11 plain blocks (that's 66 blocks, folks - heh) of low volume fabric from my stash, for a gender neutral baby quilt.  I have been meaning to use my collection of Gumnut Babies forever, and am so pleased with how this has turned out.  It is 36" x 44" finished, which is good for a wee baby bassinet, floor rug or pram blanket.  I would probably add a row each way if it was for a toddler though, to be a good cot size.

Super simple baby quilt two - the full garden shot

Wouldn't you like this for your new baby?

Super simple baby quilt two - the cropped garden shot

The blocks are 6.5" x 4.5" each unfinished.  Rather than piecing them individually, I cut 4.5" strips from the full width of fabric, and sewed three or four strips together before cutting into 6.5" pieces.

Hello little gumnut babies

I like how these simple blocks are big enough to show off a fabric, without being too overwhelming and fussy.

Ta-dah - blocks pieced together quickly

One of the true pleasures of small and quick quilts is that they fit on the kitchen table when it is basting time.  No sore back and knees.  No dragging furniture around to make room on the floor.  Bliss.

20 minutes later, we were good to quilt.

The big experiment for me on this quilt was the quilting.  One of the express purposes for making these quilts is to practice FMQ.  I just hate being bad at stuff and quilting is one of those things that you cannot perfect just by being careful.  No - you just have to practice, practice, practice.  Megan has a plan to sort out her FMQ which has motivated me even more to get on with it.  So I found a swirly design I liked the look of, did a trial strip and then had a go.  It's fair to say, I felt like it ruined a perfectly pretty quilt top.  Hubby, on the other hand, thought I was being a drama queen (me? never!) and said that it looked fine.  It looks nothing like the perfect example I found on Pinterest, but here it is.

swirly bits - those poor gumnuts look terrified.

I swirled on alternating rows, and did some straight lines in between.  The next morning, it all seemed better after some sleep.  I've now decided it's quite cute.  How many times have you heard me say that?

I backed it with a vintage style school days print from Spotlight (yay Boxing Day sales) and bound it with my go-to chocolate stripe binding.  Now it needs a baby home to go to - fortunately Hubby has a friend who may have news on that front shortly.  Fingers crossed!

The back.  Is your life complete now you have seen this?

So - I'll be adding this to my super simple baby quilts page.

We really need new carpet.  Just saying.

I have even made a little button so you can link back to check for quick baby quilt gift ideas.  Feel free to grab it for your side bar or link-up page.

Shush I'm Quilting

And because this is a finish, I'm linking up to Crazy Mom's, TGIFF over at Quilt Matters and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  Have a good weekend my crafty friends!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Citrus Sweet Love catch up

I'm doing my best to get back up to date with my Citrus Sweet Love block of the month. I was seven blocks behind and it just all seemed a bit overwhelming before I finished work.  While two tricky blocks a month are challenging and interesting, seven tricky blocks is a nightmare.  Thank goodness for the Christmas holiday, huh.

So I feel all smuggy pants to be able to tell you that three of the seven are now done - only four to go.  Here they are:

Y seams, all conquered (six, yes really, six, hours later - I can make a whole baby quilt in that time).  This block is supposed to be hand pieced, but I decided I had hand piecing fatigue and that it would be useful to learn how to machine piece Y seams.  That's how I justified it to myself anyway.  So those points aren't as super perfect as they could have been, but I don't think they're too bad for a first try.  It's just as well I did it on the machine though.  Imagine how long it would have taken to hand piece.  Having said that - the time includes making and cutting out the little plastic template pieces and reading the instructions a mere zillion times.  I also managed to put all the pieces in the right place the first time.  I did NOT want to be unpicking any of this.

November block two - Beautiful Bella

Hand pieced curves (for the second time).  I'm still not loving hand pieced curves, but it is now officially ticked off the 'need to learn' list.  This is not supposed to be a circle, by the way, just in case you think it looks a bit squarish - that is the pattern, folks.

November block one - Hannah's Path

And for some light relief, I did the plain machine pieced block for January.  Half square triangles, I own you too (although apparently I need to get the iron out.  Again).  That is some matching points.

January block one - Treehouse Triangles

Now I have three appliqué blocks to do and a Y seam extravaganza called Sarah's Garden.  I am quite looking forward to the appliqué - I plan to get the little bits all cut out so I can sit and hand sew in the evening.  Sounds peaceful, right?  *snort*  We'll see!

I have a finish to show you on Friday, so see you then!

Monday, 6 January 2014

O is for Oh we're having a tantrum about quilting: ABC BOW week 17

Hello my quilty friends.  I am having a lovely sewing and bloggy time at the moment.  I am managing to get things ticked off my to-do list and organise a few long term projects for the year.  And I've managed to sort the blog out a bit more.  What do you think?  I am going to do a new header, but I though this was a bit more summery in the meantime.

One of the things I was very excited to get finished was my ABC quilt top.  In fact I hoped to show you a completely finished quilt today.  But no.  This is what I will show you.  O is for Octopus.

O is for Octopus
You will see that some quilting is underway.  That is not happy quilting.  No sirree.  I had stupidly decided to use a stitch on Bernie which creates a stitch that looks (roughly) like hand stitching.  Well sometimes it does.  Sometimes it looks like stupid little dots, like in my photo.  Blergh.

In principle a quick hand sewing type stitch is an awesome idea.  In reality - na - ah.  You use invisible thread for the top, which breaks all. the. time.  And it is sooooo slow.  Really, it would have been quicker to hand quilt properly.  And the worst thing is, I've done one block wrong.  It needs unpicking and it takes forever.  Fail.

In fact the whole thing has annoyed me so much I put it aside and made a whole new baby quilt in the same time it took me to quilt half of this.  Gah.  But more about that later!

Anyway - tantrum over - how are you doing?  I can see there has been some catching up.  Although some of you are being conspicuously absent.  I won't name and shame you, because we all sew when we can, but I am very keen to see how you are going!

Come and link up and say Hi ... I hope your quilting is less annoying than mine.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Friday, 3 January 2014

More mini covers (sheesh)

I mentioned in my last post that I had two new iPad mini covers on my to-do list.  You will recall that I made one recently, and was very proud of the fact that I had used all scraps.  So you can imagine my mixed feelings on Christmas morning when hubby proudly gave me a new brown leather smart case which made my iPad mini an mere 1/8" too big for my new cover.  Egads.  I love the case, I really do, but it was pretty irritating.  Worse than that, hubby had been trying to hint when I made it the cover that it should be bigger, but I dismissed his annoying nattering.  There may be a lesson in that.

 The bottom one is the right size.  How ANNOYING is that!

Anyway I called Mother to enquire whether she would like a nice new iPad mini cover (she too has a mini - we seem to be an Apple family) and she has reluctantly agreed to take it off my hands (read - she wanted one, but didn't ask because I already had a long to-do list!).  So fortunately, that has a happy home to go to in the deepest South.

Enter the new cover.  First, I have made one for hubby.  He too has a brown leather case, which I sense is going to be annoying, but we shall see.  Hubby carefully picked some Star Wars fabric with some Michael Miller Nevermore for the lining.   I chose the orange strip for the binding.  Hubby doesn't want a toggle tie like the first one, so I will hand sew on some press studs on the corners for closures.

See - it fits.  Much better.

There was much discussion about how long the top flap should be, as it was important to include Boba Fett's gun.  Right.  Glad we got that sorted.

Pow pow.

So, I am proud to say I have one thing off the to-do list already!  Yippee.  So for my good endeavours I will link up to Crazy Mom'sConfessions of a Fabric Addict and TGIFF.

How is your new years sewing going?