Thursday, March 31, 2011

Catching Up

My sewing for the last couple of days has been a bit of a production line.  I've made three Civil War blocks, more blocks for Block Lotto, plus a Friday Block Party one....

The Friday Block Party one still needs some applique and I was kinda toying with the idea of doing that by hand, so it's not actually finished yet.  Not sure why I decided to do it by hand, and maybe I'll change my mind in the end but we'll see.  It's the first one I've done, although I've been following for a while.

Here are the Civil War Blocks

11 London Square
The fabrics for this one were sourced from the pile of pre-washing and ironing I did.  I managed to cut all the little trianlges of the trains and beige out of the other half of the large square (from the half square triangle), so I had less wastage.

12 Louisiana
The fabric choice this week was a little more symoblic than actual.  I spent most of the week planning, designing and buying fabric for the puppy and dino quilts I've got planned.  Whilst all of the fabric has now arrived, I didn't want to cut into it before I've cut up the quilts, so I found a different dinosaur fabric from my stash.  The royal blue is actually the fabric I bought for the dino quilt applique, I know i've got plenty of that so I didn't mind cutting it.  I also did a little work on some christmas items as part of my March Challenge, so the light blue is from that range of fabrics.  I didn't actually use the light blue but it was the best fit to the other fabrics.

13 Little Blue Basket
The fabrics for this week are fabrics I have used on the next Block Lotto blocks.  If you get your blocks in by a certain time, you get the info for next month early as a 'sneak peak'.  Can't share the block lotto blocks with you yet, but these are some of the many fabrics I used on them.
I might add a handle to this block later, not sure yet.  Some of the ones I've seen with handles look great, but some others don't grab me so much.

I've certainly had my run of half square triangles in this lot!!

I've also finished the next Retro Nine Patch block, but forgot to photograph it.  That will have to wait till next time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Costume Parade

A few things recently have made me think about my costumes.

The first was a post from Margaret about some of her costumes, and she made mention of a group project we did.  Then Barbara Brackman was talking about the floral dresses that Abraham Lincoln's wife used to wear.  Most recently I made mention of my 'bubble dress' the other day.

I decided to put some of the 'bigger' ones on a page so you can all see them.  So now, just under the header on my blog, you should see a link to the Costume page (if you haven't discovered it already).  All of the costumes featured there link to pages with more information or extra photos.  Some of the information is old/out of date, but I figured I'd put it up like it was.  I used to have it on a webpage so the information has been typed up for ages.  Maybe one day I'll get around to updating it, and my hubby said we should be able to fix up some of the photos a bit with photoshop too.

I've made lots of other costumes that I didn't bother documenting that way, but here are photos of some of my favourites:

'Danielle' from the movie Ever After
I think this was one of the first really involved costumes that I did.  I wanted that movie so many times while I was making it that it was years before I could watch it again.  I wanted to get as many details as close as possible.  Unfortunately my fabric selection was limited to what I could find at the local fabric store so the colours aren't really the most accurate

Made for a Victorian picnic
This was an early piece as well.  Wouldn't like to show anyone the inside because there's a few things which aren't finished off properly ;)

'Miss Congeniality'
Again a movie costume... except this one doesn't appear in the movie at all, only on the cover art.

Manic Surgeon and Naughty Nurse
I love those shoes!! (and my legs at the time, but they don't look like that any more)

So go see the Costume Page, and discover what fills the wardrobe in my sewing room!

I should do more costuming... I haven't done anything 'serious' for years.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Early Morning Inspirations

Once again I am in a quiet morning house, trawling the internet while waiting for a baby to go to sleep.

This morning I came across the Doodle Stitch Along at Lark Crafts.  As well as the stitcheries being very cute, I was quite taken by the finished quilt
I'm quite new to the idea of the ticker tape quilt and am keen to try it out.  It's a really easy way to use up scraps by the look of it.  I'd never thought of using stitcheries in this way though!  I have only ever thought about using embroidery in quilts in a structured way such as the baby elephant quilt I completed, or the Birdie Stitches one I am currently working on.
I can't wait to start a new embroidery project so I can try this out!!  It would be very easy to incorporate small embroidery details, such as the little mushrooms above, and not have to have lots of big 'scenes'.

Also at Lark Crafts while looking for all the Doodle Stitch Along posts, I came across a post with these Zodiac Constellation hoops by Miniature Rhino, for sale on Etsy
I've had a plan for an astrological quilt brewing in the back of my mind for many years now.  These could be a bit more inspiration to develop my idea.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Birdie Stitches Block 3

I finished this last weekend but apparently I didn't blog it....

This block was nice and quick to do, lots of long lines!  I decided to make the dots in the rainbow in the silver colour, kind of like rain drops, and the bird tail dots are green just for some extra colour.

These are so fun and cute, can't wait till next month.

This week I'm grateful for....Soda Stream

I'm not a big fizzy drink fan.  I sometimes buy a 1.25L bottle now and then when we're grocery shopping, but once I open it, half the time it is flat before I've had time to finish it.  I'm just not THAT into it.

My husband drinks enough to make this a money saver, but for me, I love the fact that at any given time I can make a glass of ginger ale and not have to worry if there is one in the cupboard.  The 500ml bottles that we got for the Soda Stream are even better because that's just two glasses, which I can usually drink in the time before it goes flat.  And because we keep the plain bottles of water in the fridge ready for 'streaming', it's always cold!

YAY for modern appliances which make our lives more enjoyable.

What are you grateful for today?  Maxabella Loves is taking a short break this weekend, so you have to head over to her sister, MultipleMum at And Then There Were Four, to see what others are up to, and add your own link.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble.....

This morning lying in bed, willing the Little One to go back to sleep, I had an idea for a bubble quilt.  When I realise the Little One wasn't going back to sleep, I ended up here and decided to look for some inspiration (and to make sure no one else had already done what I was thinking ;).

These are some of the things I came across:
A hand-dyed muslin creation over at Going to Pieces
It's actually made by a friend of Dianne's,  a group of them set a challenge to make something starting with a plain piece of muslin. These are probably the closest to the bubbles I had in mind, but still not the same. 

Larkspur Lane Designs has this cute number:

Over at The Free Motion Quilting Project I found this one:

This is all about the quilting pattern rather than the fabric, which is not something I'd initially thought of.  I have a little experience with sewing bubbles.... several years ago I entered a competition to make a 'Bubble Dress' for a well known sparkling wine company.
I didn't win, but I loved the dress, and in the long run that feels a lot better than $1,000 cash.  It was a really fun technique and I hadn't thought of using it in a quilting way.

Whilst not really bubbles, I also came across this one from Lesley Brankin Quilts:
I just thought it was a really fun quilt and had to share!

Donna, over at Kindred Crafters made this lovely effort:
Aspects of this are also along the lines of what I'd imagined, but again, not really the same.

Another one that is not bubbles, but some fun that came up in my search results was this Twister quilt from Gen X Quilters:
I've always had a bit of a thing for Twister even though I've never owned the game and only played it a few times.  Many, many years ago I remember helping to paint a Twister board on the floor at a youth club, and at one point I owned a Twister key ring.  It was a small box with all the dots inside and you were supposed to lay them out on the floor to play the game.  In my younger (single) days I used to think about making an outfit out of it and wearing it to nightclubs to help with meeting boys!  What a pick up line "you must place your left hand on blue!".

Finally I found this lovely one on Flickr (couldn't work out how to include the photo here though).  I always love a good silhouette quilt, and I especially love the way this one mixes the silhouette of the girl with the coloured bubbles.

So many lovely designs there.... I'm so inspired to go in different directions to my original idea, but I think I should get it sorted out first, and then move on before I forget where I started.

What have you been inspired by lately?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A little bit behind

I've spent a lot of this week on the computer and not so much in the sewing room, so not a lot of physical achievement, but some planning.

I have managed to complete the 10th Civil War block.
 This week's block is called Lincoln's Platform, and was chosen to mark the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln being inaugurated as President of the United States.  As always you can read more of the story on Barbara's blog.

My fabric choices this week are mostly sourced from the stack of pre-washing and ironing that I did last week (when I *should* have made the block), with the pink spots and plain coming from a project I am working on as part of my March Challenge.
I had seen some of the other blocks completed and liked having the stripes to frame the centre block, also the example block that Barbara showed had a fussy cut flower in the centre to remember Mary Lincoln's silk dresses and I really liked this sentiment.  It became a challenge to find an appropriate flower and surrounding fabrics which worked with the stripe I had chosen (the only stripe in all the fabric I had washed).  In the end I went with the selection you see here.  A bit of a mish-mash, and the central flower is not one you would have seen in the 1860's, but still it's a flower.  Unfortunately the block has ended up at 8 1/4" instead of the 8 1/2" it's supposed to be, so will have to remember that when it comes time to put them all together.

Now I'm only one block behind again, because of course it's a new week and we're now up to the 12th block, so I'd better hurry up and do the 11th.

Also this week I caught up on the Retro Nine Patch block.  I finished block 2 the day before block 3 was released.

I had more success with the satin stitch on this one because I outlined first and then did the satin stitch.  My little purple flower looks a big wobbly, but I guess it will just match the wobbly-ness of block 1!  Block 3 is traced out and ready to go... but I've got a month to finish it so there is no rush just yet.

I found some time this week to get in a bit of free motion quilting practice so had a go at a meandering line/stippling type of thing.  Here are my results:
I'm pretty impressed!  I had to play around a bit with threads and bobbins to get a good combination, but more on that later.

Oh, and I've just finished the latest Birdie Stitches as well so I'll have to blog about that soon.  I think today I will try and get some actual sewing done, rather than just reading/writing about it ;)

Friday, March 18, 2011

This week I'm grateful shopping!

Okay so I'm being a bit shallow this week... but I love it!
I have been able to source fabric for a total of four quilts from three different stores, and am able to compare across all of them at the same time.  Not only looking for a good price, but comparing colours and patterns before I commit to buying anything.  It would be hard to do that at three bricks and mortar shops.

So what have I bought?

From I got all I need for the dinosaur quilt as well as a few extras for the puppy quilt, and the border fabric for my Birdie Stitches.

From Fat Quarter Shop I got the Kona solids I need for the puppy quilt, and Kona Colour Card, plus I got the white fabric I need for the stitcheries on Tail Feathers.

And finally I will get from The Quilter's Store the other bits I need to complete Tail Feathers (border, binding and some applique bits).  I don't think I'll be starting this quilt very soon but the Honey Buns I have for it are from the Clementine range by Me and My Sister (for Moda) and I want to get the yardage before it is no longer available.  I haven't clicked 'checkout' yet because I want some discussion with my creative consultant.

All this and I didn't have to pester my husband to drive me across town ;)

What are you grateful for this week?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Puppies in colour

I was so pleased with my photoshop efforts on the dino quilt, that I decided to do the same for the puppy quilt using the fabrics I have chosen.  This also helped me work out what colour solids to use.

The main print is Hot dog, the colour 'Spring' by Hoffman Fabrics.
The white in the nine-patch blocks is a coordinate from the same range.
The green in the nine-patch blocks is part of the AlphaBuddies collection by Andover Fabrics.  
The puppy is going to be in flannel.  The pattern suggested making him out of minky but I couldn't find the right colours so I decided flannel would still give the fluffy effect slightly.  
The dark brown is Handspray by RJR Fabrics.  This was also the print I used for my elephant quilt, but in flat cotton, not flannel.  
The light brown is from a range called Bunny Luvdesigned by Bonnie Sullivan for Maywood Studios.  
The ball is the marble fabric from my stash.  I couldn't find an image of it online, so I cropped a photo of my civil war block, hence it comes up a bit dark.
The sashings and cornerstones are planned as Kona Solids in Pistachio and Kiwi but I haven't got them yet.
The puppy does have eyes and a nose in black and white, but I forgot to add them to the photoshop image.

I was hunting around online last night working out what fabric I need for this and the dino quilt, and also found a few bits and pieces I need to finish the Birdie Stitches quilt, as well as some fabric to go with the honey buns I've bought for Tail Feathers, which I'd like to get while it's still available.  I totalled up $230 worth of fabric, across three online stores (including postage and a Kona Solids colour card, and backings for puppy and dino quilts).  I want to buy it now as some of the fabrics are end of runs etc and wont last forever, and I might as well get everything I want from each store in one go to save on postage... but still, I'm not quite sure if our budget will stretch that far right now.

For all this planning I've been doing lately, I haven't done much sewing.  This means I'm behind in my Civil War blocks, and I don't know what fabrics to use since I haven't used any this week!!  Oh the dilema of having to stick to my own rules.

I have caught up on the Retro Nine Patch though, I'll post about that soon.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dino designs and puppy dog tails

Now that I've finished one of the projects on my to-do list, I've started planning for the next new one.

I decided that my niece and nephew (turning 10 and 7) will get lap quilts for their birthdays this year, in August and September.  She LOVES puppy dogs and he LOVES dinosaurs.  Her favourite colour is green, his is blue.  So that makes for an easy start, but then it got harder.

I wanted to make sure the quilts weren't 'kiddy' so that they would last for a long time, but also I wanted them to be fun and bright, not 'adult'. I didn't want something that was heavy in applique because then I might risk not having it finished in time, which has been the fate of my music quilt.  I had decided that I was going to use a pattern (not design it myself) and make use of interesting fabrics in a pieced design.

Doing a google image search for "dog quilt" brought lots of ideas, both using dog fabric and pieced blocks.  I eventually came across There's a Dog on my Quilt.  It must be an older pattern because it is rather hard to find, and even harder to find as a stand alone pattern, not part of a book.  Postage costs for the book (from U.S.) was a bit much when I only wanted one pattern, but eventually I found a copy of the pattern for sale on a very old blog post.  Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, the pattern was soon flying it's way around the world to me at a very reasonable price!

In my searching I found this picture of the quilt:
Photo courtesy of The Quilt Show
I liked the idea of the plain blocks to show of a nice print fabric, and only using the 9 patch blocks as alternates.

Then it was on to finding fabrics, but I'll leave that for another post.

The dinosaur quilt happened in a different order.  Google searches for "dinosaur quilt" returned lots of images of baby quilts.  For a 7 year old boy, that wasn't going to work.  Girls might still give into the 'cute' factor, but boys aren't going to want anything that is baby-ish.  In the end I went hunting for fabrics and found this:
Photo courtesy of Bug Fabric
Perfect for a boy who isn't a baby!  I found Bug Fabric and they have an awesome range of animal/creature prints!  From there I found some other coordinating prints, and built a design around it.  Since the dog quilt actually had a dog in it, I didn't want the dino quilt to be just plain repeating pieced blocks.  I gave in and added some applique to my design, but hopefully it will be simple.  It's just a silhouette in one colour.  This is the design I've come up with:

That's my first rough go at designing a quilt in Photoshop.  I know there are gaps between the blocks, and the fabric scales aren't necessary right, but it meant I was able to pull the fabric samples off the website and insert them, rather than relying on colouring in graph paper with a pencil.  Not bad, if I do say so my self.

All the fabric comes from Bug Fabric so once I work out yardage (do we ever say 'meterage'?), I'll be putting in my order.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Challenge Yourself - March

It's been a month already (well it's not until tomorrow but I was getting in early).

How did I go last month?  My challenge was to have a market by the end of the year.  Obviously we're not at the end of the year yet, but last weekend I did some 'Market Research'!  I went to a few local markets to see what they are like and if they would suit me.  One was next to useless for my purposes, another was suitable but looks like it wouldn't have many people walking through.  Two were promising!  One is inside a community centre, the other is along a public footpath.  Both have their merits and their drawbacks, but I I've decided which I will approach first.

Wont give too much away though ;)  We'll just leave it at that for now!

Oh, and as for the February bonus round, I donated  to the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria.

And now on to March's Challenge...

Since I've decided I'm going to have a market stall by the end of the year, I'd better get busy and make things to sell.  By this time next month I want to have three different items I can sell.  And that means versions I can actually sell, so no "I'll just fix that bit next time and then it will be right".  Hopefully I will have more than one example of each but I'm not going to set myself a target above one.

Add your link below if you want to challenge yourself this month.

I'm grateful for...

Okay so it might sound like I'm pandering, but every week now I spend many spare minutes here and there trying to think of what I'm going to be grateful for that weekend so I can blog it.  I realise how many things I have to be grateful for, small, big, silly, personal, public, all sorts of things that I wouldn't want to be without.  Many of them seem too small to list here (but I guess that's the point) and some seem so big that they should be obvious (again.. that's probably the point), but these are things which could otherwise go for granted.

I'm going through some trying times at the moment, adjusting to being a new mum still, and discovering more of myself every day, so it's really helpful to think of the things I have, that often get overlooked, and be grateful.

What are you grateful for this week?  See what others are grateful for over at Maxabella Loves

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We all love beautiful fabric

but what do you do with it?

I see lots of fabric that I want to buy because it is just so pretty (or interesting, or colourful, or whatever), and sometimes I do buy some of it if I have the money but then I can never decide what to make from it.

My first thought is that I want to make something for myself, after all, I bought the fabric because I like it, but that would ultimately result in me just shifting my stash from the sewing room to the rest of the house.

This came about because two years ago my husband bought me some nice fabric for Christmas, and I put it in a box saving it for something 'special', not wanting to use it for gifts because he had given it to ME.  Consequently that fabric was still in said box until last night, when I decided I'd better dig it out (and a few other pieces I'd been savouring) and pre-wash it ready for use.

I could use it to make something for myself, but if I make something as a gift for someone else, I'll still get the enjoyment out of sewing the item (which, let's face it, is the really fun bit of great fabric), or even better, if I make something to sell, I can use the money to buy MORE beautiful fabric!

What do you do with fabric you love that you bought just because?  Do you make things for yourself?  Or do you have the enjoyment of using the lovely fabric but then give away or sell the finished item?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Club Retro

I'm starting to catch up on my retro... the Nine Patch, not the music, although I should listen to some retro music again, it's been ages.

As mentioned before, I've decided to do this as a 5" square rather than 10".  All my stitches are backstitch and satin stitch.  I think chain stitch would be a bit much on the smaller scale.  I've never been very good at hand satin stitch, so I was a bit worried about getting to it when I started.  The first bit I did (the orange circle), I forgot it was satin stitch and outlined the circle with backstitch, then had to go back and do the satin stitch.  I forgot the second circle as well so had to do the same.  By the third circle I remembered so I did satin stitch first and then outlined.  I think the others came up better, so I'm going to stick with outlining first and then satin stitch.

My flower looks a bit wobbly too, now that I see the photograph.  Not sure if that is my stitching or my marking of the design.  Will have to be more careful on the next one.

Speaking of the next block, I've already started it, better get to and finish it before the 15th so I don't fall further behind.  Also gotta catch up on Birdie Stitches!

Monday, March 7, 2011

From this....

To this:

I thought 14 and a half metres of fabric would look a lot bigger...

After overlocking all this fabric the other day, I thought it would take me an age to iron it, but it didn't.

Now I have to decide what to make with it all!  I'm thinking I might use some of it for next Civil War block, and the last pile down the end already have a purpose picked out, just have to get around to it!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Civil War block 9: Birds in the Air

Barbara's block this week is more triangles.  I think I'm going to be good at piecing triangles by the end of this year...

Barbara's blog shares a wonderful story of a quilt made entirely out of this block which included an anti-slavery motif in the centre:

After Deborah's death in the 1880s, her offspring cut the abolitionist quilt in half, one side for each branch of the family. When their descendents decided to rejoin the pieces, they removed the binding and found the small image of the African man, which had been cut in half and hidden for decades.

How wonderful it is to find hidden treasures such as this, and especially one with such historical emotions.

My block doesn't contain anything so historically significant, but the fabrics I chose this week are ones I used to make the softies to be donated to the Qld Flood and Christchurch Earthquake victims.  The 'birds' (the three smaller trianges) were meant to be from dark fabric but I wanted to use both the prints in the block, so they've come out a bit light.  I guess they can be light coloured birds like doves or something ;)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Creative Space

The other day I received some more fabric in the mail, and sat down to overlock it ready for pre-washing.  Then I decided that I should did out some other fat quarter bundles I'd had sitting around since last year and get them all pre-washed.

This morning I have overlocked three sides each of approximately 50 fat quarters!  Plus there are the dozen or so I did last night.

I think my overlocker needs a good clean and a little lie down for a while now.

This afternoon it is on to washing and I guess that means tomorrow (and probabably the rest of the weekend) will be spent ironing.

Pop over to kootoyoo and see who else is playing along this week.

Block Lotto

I've been following the Block Lotto blog since late January but hadn't joined in the February block because it didn't really appeal to me.

The idea is that you make 1-9 of the specified block, fitting into colour requirments etc, and for every block you make you get one entry into the lotto.  At the end of the month they pull out some winners (how many depends on how many blocks were made) and then those winners get sent blocks from all the other people who entered.

How simple is that??

The March block has just been started and it's a really simple block so I figured I should join in.  If nothing else, it's good practice with piecing, and a change to learn new blocks/techniques.  Plus I get to use up some of my stash!

So here are my blocks:

I could only do two because I only had two red fabrics in my stash (and you had to use a different red fabric for each one you entered).  If I acquire any other red fabric during the month I might do another one.

It's called a Disappearing Four Patch.  This is because you start out by making a Four-patch block and then chop it up and re-sew it.  I'd only recently seen this technique done on a Nine-patch block and I think it's fun.  The instructions say to cut 5" squares to start with but I wanted to make sure my block came out the right size so I cut 5 1/4" squares and trimmed the excess of when I'd finished.  I wasn't far off from being right because my blocks were almost exactly 9" square before I trimmed them.

There are a lot of little crossed seams at the back and I eventually worked out how to do it so they all press nicely, but one of the blocks I unpicked are re-did a bit of seam 3 times because I kept pressing the seam the wrong way.  Probably partly due to the fact that I was only finger pressing, because my iron is currently set up in the other room whilst I'm making curtains.

It was actually a really fun, easy block to do and I think I might do more of them for myself in different colours some time.

I like the block so much I'm considering making some cushions out of it... but I guess that will just go on my 'to-do' list for now.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Softie Donations

All my softies are finished!
These, along with the bears I finished the other day will be sent to Queensland for Mon Petit Poppet's Hope Softies and monkeemoomoo's Dolly Drive and one will go to Christchurch for the softie drive Leonie is running over at Kiwi At Heart.

The softies above all come from the Softies range of books. You can now get them in one big volume, but I've got the last three books on that list (actually I've got the first two as well).

The Dinosaur is made out of red tartan which is left overs of a skirt I made years ago.  Elsie the Little Dog is made out of purple fine corduroy, but I can't remember what that was from.  Lucy's Monster is made out of a red fake fur which is sort of curly.  I'd decided to concentrate on toys for boys because a lot of people would make "dolls" which usually appeal more to girls.

Now I just have to decide which ones are going where, and get them to the post office to start their journey to new homes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stacks of Skeins

In preparation for the Retro Nine Patch I am working on, I needed to get some embroidery thread.  I prefer Anchor over DMC for no apparent reason really.  I have a growing dislike for the large retail chains where I normally purchase such goods, so decided to order some from ebay.  Of course the bulk lots make it cheaper.
I now have more thread than I know what to do with!  When it turned up I discovered that this lot is made in India and Pakistan, rather than Europe where the others I already have are made.  They still have all the same labelling regarding colourfastness, so I hope they are!  Other than a slight variance in the label, I can't see any difference with the threads.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...