Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Break-Up

We enjoy meeting at Lorraine's house every Friday afternoon and today was our last meeting for the year.  So here is what we were doing.

Lorraine has finisned her Christmas wall hanging 

 and now is working on an orange and green piece.  She still has to decided if it is going to be a wall hanging or perhaps a table runner.

Mary has finished the celtic pattern on her supper cloth and is now hand quilting it in a small square grid pattern.

Noelene is hand quilting her delicately coloured Kaleidoscope quilt.

Pam has finished the top for a Dinosaur cot quilt,

and I am still doing surface stitchery on quilt blocks.

Naturally with all our hard work we needed to have a rest with a refreshing cuppa.

We all wish you a very happy festive season with plenty of enjoyable quilting in the New Year.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Having some rest and relaxation

I'm amazed to see that my last post was well over two months ago.  But after the concentration of doing two quilts at once I think I needed a bit of rest and relaxation from embroidery and quilting though  I didn't expect it to last this long.  But now I'm starting to feel the stirring of a renewed interest and am planning what my post-Christmas activities will be.  Not that I've been completely idle.   I've started working again on some embroideries of vases of flowers which I hope will end up in a quilt one day.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

BMX Quilt Top No 1

The first of my two BMX quilt tops is now finished.  Doing those mitred corners with matching patterns was almost too much for my sewing skill level. But I'm pleased with the overall effect and the personalization with J's racing number and photos. Now onto the second quilt - same layout but with different number and photos.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Making Progress

What with books to read, TV to watch, lunch dates, sickies to visit and many other things I don't seem to do so much sewing these days. But the centre square of the first of my two BMX quilts is now done and I'm reasonably happy with it.  So far it measures 29" square. Two different borders  come next.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

New Projects - Two BMX Quilts

With the Fifties Dresses quilt now ready to have its binding sewn on I've started two quilts for two young boys who are enthusiastic BMX racers.  Here are the first few blocks waiting to be trimmed into 9" squares.  There also  is a narrow strip of bike chains which I will use as sashing and two photo prints showing their racing numbers on shields to be incorporated into the quilt somewhere.

I would also like to include photos of the boys - I've have had my first try at photo printing on fabric and am using purchased prepared fabric.  But I don't know that I'm completely satisfied with the quality of the prints. I used a HP C5280 printer and the normal colour ink cartridges.

I've been reading an article which mentions using Vivera ink and another that mentions Archival inks.

If anyone has any advice or useful links they would me most welcome.  Actually this photo fascinates me as at first glance it looks as though the front bike is about to ride right out of the picture.   So now I'm tempted to juggle that lower piece of fabric to match up the curve of the photo wheel with the fabric wheel to improve the illusion !

Friday, June 22, 2012

Dress Me Up - finished quilt top

I feel as though a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders now that my Dress Me Up embroideries have come together in a quilt top. It's just over twelve months since I started the first dress.

The ladies in the fabric diamonds came from a piece of Springtime in Paris by Michael Miller.

My photography leaves a lot to be desired, but I think you can get the general idea of how it looks.  It measures 55" by 64".

Monday, May 21, 2012

A bit of variety - knitting

To add a bit of variety to life I got this baby shawl out of the cupboard where it has been sitting unfinished for four years. The border on one side and the centre panel both needed finishing.  As I have a habit of putting together bits and pieces from  different patterns it took me a whole evening (with one eye on the TV of course) to work out exactly what I had been doing.
It's knitted in Te Awa 2 ply Baby Merino pure wool, a favourite of mine and measure 54 " square. It will come in handy as a gift but I'm beginning to wonder if young mums these days are so keen or appreciative of something which is hand-made and which just can't be thrown in the washing machine but needs a bit of TLC.

Apart from the knitting I could call it possum week.  What do you think of this little ringtail possum. They are far less common within town boundaries than the brushtail possum
He was found, at midday, sitting in the centre of a suburban side street, sometime with his eyes closed, sometimes with them open.  He just did not want to be encouraged to move off the road. So it was a case of help needed.

 Here you can see the distinctive white tip to its tail at the top of the photo.

We tried to encourage him to climb up a tree. No luck.  So we put in him a front garden and he promptly crawled in under some dense foliage.  Hopefully when it became dark he was able to find his way to suitable territory.

We don't know what he was doing in the middle of the road. He didn't appear to have been hit by a car and we can't work out why he would be out on the road in daylight.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fifties Dress No 12

Fifties No 12 Dress for "Dress Me Up" is  now finished, for better or worse.  She should keep warm travelling to and fro in her little cape.  Now the problem is  of how to put them together.
I'm trying to decide if I can combine some of the illustrations in this  Paris fabric with the twelve embroideries. The ladies in the fabric are just over half the height of the ones in the embroidery so I'm thinking that  at that size perhaps twelve of these ladies wouldn't dominate the embroideries.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Slow Progress

Marion asked me why I haven't been writing on my blog.  But I don't seem to have been making much progress lately and  it hardly seemed worth writing about.  I have started on  quilting my Pretty in Purple but it's the same old story - I start off with thimbles and other quilting aids but it's not long before I discard them - I like to feel the needle with my fingers. Next thing the quilting has to be put aside while the holes made in my fingers by the needle get a chance to heal !  The front of the quilt is quite patterned so I have used an inexpensive lavender poplin for the backing which will show up the quilting . After all my efforts the seam down the middle is not quite straight !

Then there's the Dress Me Up embroideries.  Here is No 11- a very plain dress with a silver and pearl brooch.

And No 12 turned out to be very plain too. The little cape was supposed to be embroidered to look Christmassy but I decided I didn't want it that way.  So I wondered why couldn't I just applique little capes onto the embroidery to take away the plain look.  After all Marina appliques these wonderful butterflies onto her embroidery and they look fantastic. So I tried  lots of different fabrics .

A little fur cape would be appropriate for the fifties but I think I might make a mess of sewing it on.  And it wouldn't be really practical.  The belt hasn't been embroidered yet.

Another fabric I was given - the colours match the dress nicely  but it's a bit heavy looking and doesn't exactly look like the fifties.

So I suppose I'll go back to embroidery and perhaps fill in the cape with an embroidered pattern but what stitch would I use.  I am a copier and am not good at creating and at the moment my few creative juices are all dried up.

Of course I might just be prevaricating as when No 12 is finished I am going to have to decide how I am going to put them together into a quilt and I am not looking forward to that decision.

Then just recently there's been the matter of visitors.  I follow my hobbies in the living room, not in a room where I can shut the door on my muddle.  Here  I can pick something up and sew a few stitches while the vegies cook or while having a coffee or at any odd time of the day or night. And for my usual visitors I don't worry about my clutter.  BUT when you know out-of-towners are going to be welcomed in that front door several times in the next few days then everything, and I mean everything, gets shoved away in any old spot where it will fit.  Now I am going to have to try and find things again.

So sorry Marion, hopefully now I can again have a clear creative mind, sensitive healed fingers and my lovely clutter around me again and perhaps do  some craft work  worth writing about !

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Final border on Pretty in Purple

Today I added the final border to my Pretty in Purple quilt.  Hopefully tomorrow I can get it ready for quilting.
It is looking much more blue in this snap but it really is pretty in purple and lavender with just a touch of green,  I think I might be getting used to this needle-turning business and some day may have another go at it as this time I quite enjoyed it.

I've been doing  plenty of reading lately.  I always enjoy Ruth Rendell and her alter-ego Barbara Vine.  At the moment I'm reading Asta's book and am thoroughly enjoying it as usual.  But there's something about the way she introduces her characters which bamboozles me.  After 50 pages I've had to go back to the beginning and use a pen and paper to make a list of he goes with her goes with he  goes with her and build up a tree of family and other people.  Without this as a reference I just can't make sense of the story !

Before that I found   a couple of Kate Mosse books - Labyrinth and Sepulchre.  It's ages since I've read one of this kind of book where a person's brain can retain traces of their forebear's history.  Makes for a really good read with the story moving between the present and the past, in this case the wars of hundreds of years ago of  intolerance in southern France.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fifties Dress No 10 and Pretty in Purple

The time slips away so quickly but at last Fifites Dress No 10 for "Dress Me Up" is done.  Two more to do.
And for a bit of variety I started one which had been torn out of a magazine and was labelled Chris Jurd's "Pretty in Purple"

And here is my unfinished version.  I still have to buy the fabric for the final border - possibly I'll use the same floral fabric as the large scallops - and make a pile of those little purple circles to  fit in between the triangles.    I had promised myself that I'd never again attempt to needle-turn stems and leaves but really, these circles come in the same frustrating category !  I'm all thunbs when it comes to  needle-turning.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rose Star blocks, hellebores and violets.

I've been plodding on with the Rose Star blocks - I really enjoy the hand sewing - and now   
have nearly eleven blocks completed. At the moment they're lying on the floor on the back of an old quilt as I've been dithering on what colour to use for the background. Suggestions have included  white, white with a spot, and grey,and at the moment I'm wondering about the fawn/beige in the photo as a possibility. So hard !  And should I stay with this 2-3-2-3-2 layout or change to a 3-2-3-2-3 arrangment.  As it is at the moment I will have to make six half blocks to fill in the outside spaces.

I don't do much in the garden.  It's pretty much left to look after itself as long as there's plenty of greenery and a few spots of colour. But I couldn't help noticing today that the violets are starting to flower already.  Surely ti's too early for that - it's still summer.  They've been there for donkey's years and have never flowered this early before, even if the flowers are a bit small  and insipid looking.

And then there's the hellebore, another long-time resident.    It has always flowered late winter- early Spring but lately it's been blatantly flaunting itself and it's still summer.  Perhaps it's trying to tell me something !

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fifties Dress No 9 and Rose Star Piecing

Finished Dress No 9 for the Dress Me Up quilt.  Three more to go.

And I've also had a dabble with the Rose Star block which I first spotted in  Possum Blossom's blog which led me on to some instructions at Summerfete .  I've only used hexagon-shaped templates until now so I was tempted to try out these different shapes.

Not too sure about the colours though.  The samples I looked at had myriad colours and I don't trust myself choosing so many colours.  So I thought let someone else do the choosing and started using a layer cake of Moda's Urban Cowgirl.  All put together in a quilt the sight of these bright colours is going to knock you over at a dozen paces !

One thing I discovered though is that I get on much better using cardboard templates instead of paper ones.  Much more accurate and much sharper corners.

I've also changed my philosphy on creating still more UFOs.   I don't think that way any more.  I am simply an adventurer dipping my toes in as many waters as possible.  Who can resist when bloggers keep showing us so many interesting ideas.  There are just not enough hours in the day to try them all. So thanks to all those bloggers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Jacobean Leaves

I spend so much time reading and enjoying other people's blogs that I forget to write anything for myself.    I've been a bit lazy but recently on Feeling Stitchy I saw the blog posted by Mrs Lacer feauring Kelly Fletcher's Jacobean Leaves cushion.
I like crewel work, which is used to embroider these leaves,  so I bought her pattern and have started working the leaves as small individual panels to incorporate into a quilt.  I don't have any particular lay-out in mind so have no idea how many I will need.  But if I repeat any leaf shape I can use a different colour combination from within the colour range that Kelly chose for her cushion leaves.

One of these days I'll make some more of these.  In the meantime it's back to the fifties dresses.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mary Thomas and Shadow Work

Yesterday Florestia on   Feeling Stitchy  wrote about an old book called Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches by Mary Thomas which had caught her fancy.  Oh memories, memories, as Mary Thomas also wrote another book, Mary Thomas's Embroidery Book which is how I made my first attempts at embroidery.   I gave this information to Florestia and she has included my e-mail in her blog. 
Now I have to admit that I am positively ancient (but you can keep that information to yourself ) as I bought my copy of Mary Thomas in 1953 and started to teach myself embroidery  This shadow work throwover is the  second thing which I made.  My first effort was a pair of place mats but they have long since disappeared.

A throwover was used after setting up a tea or supper table, or the salads for lunch - something flimsy was thrown over the food to protect it.  This one was done on a square yard of some form of organza with the blue motif in each corner, traced directly from the book.
It's really a simple yet very effective form of embroidery.

I didn't do much embroidery over the years until much later when I found myself with an empty pair of hands .  Then cross sitch re-introduced me to the pleasure of hand-work.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fifties Dress No 8 at long last

Fifites Dress No 8 of the Dress Me Up from Bobby Socks Quilts is finished at last, in its fashion  Four more to go.  I've heard marathon runners talking about hitting a wall and that's how I'm beginning to feel about these embroideries.  Each one seems to be taking me longer to complete !

Here in the southern hemishpere it's summer time and holiday time.   Most groups take this month off from their regular meetings, and with all the holiday activities as well it's easy for handwork to take a back seat for a while.

But I also finished quilting and binding the floral quilt with cross stitch panels and I am so pleased with it.  The colours  are among my favourites.  Taking a photograph of it lying flat doesn't really do it justice as it drapes beautifully. I used the bamboo batting which is so flexible.