My quilting thoughts and inspirations sprinkled with a glimpse of life down on the farm

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Focus on Feathers

You will be seeing a lot of free motion quilting around Blogland recently as many of us have joined in with the SewCalGal free-motion-quilt-challenge.
Last month Frances Moore showed us her swirly leaves and this month Diane Gaudynski  talked us through her feathers. Both were really helpful, interesting and inspiring tutorials, with great follow-up on their own blogs.My family is heartily fed up with my feathers as I have been busy practising mine so I would have something half-way decent to show by the end of the month.
It's been a fun exercise and I'm going to enjoy working through the next 10 months' tutorials too.
So here are my efforts —
My practise piece; lots of random feathers.
 I did the first one freehand but quickly decided to use a 'stencil'. I've been drawing them with these.
Cut out shapes from Diane's tutorial and an air-erasable pen.
Working at getting the lines smooth and the stitches even; failing miserably on both fronts at time but I am improving with practise.
Little snippets of advice have helped - Joanne told me "look ahead" (like you do on the back of a horse, or in a car) - that helped a lot!
I also learnt that it is OK to stop and have a think and have a rest.
Having a play. My machine does not have ESP and doesn't
always know where I want to go!
Here is my practise at last month's Swirly Leaves.
Lots of fun but a completely different 'quilting action' to that needed for
the feathers.
 SewCalGal suggested putting a sampler quilt together; each month we do a sample of our latest skill in a block. I was really happy with my sampler quilt---until I took my first photo; the pattern on the fabric gets in the way of the feathers. Never mind, I'm not changing it now and it interferes less in real life than it does in the photos.

As I was told - it is only a Sampler Quilt so perfection isn't expected!
 I am really enjoying this project, learning these skills, and look forward to next month's tutorial. Special thanks to SewCalGal for hosting this project and to Frances and Diane for their fabulous tutorials.
 Happy sewing every-one,
[even you 'my Brother' if you have read this post and made it to the bottom :-)!!]

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Here is a bolster cushion I finished recently.

Some pansy fabrics can be a bit 'old fashioned' looking but this one is Absolutely Gorgeous and has lovely matching prints.The cushion is a Sally Giblin design - I love her range of patterns, a lot have nice sentiments like this one.

Another pretty finish is this wee bag, a Birdhouse pattern. Very sweet.
Cant get away from the hexies!

Here's a pile of the books I've read over the last few months; they were piled up on the bookcase so I thought it a good chance to share them. I just finished The Wedding Quilt last night, and really enjoyed it - when I first started it and saw what year it was set in I was a bit concerned about all the Elm Creek news we would have missed out on, but I do think it was quite well done. 
The Diana Gabaldon was a Christmas present and again very much enjoyed, as was the Friday Night Knitting Club, a second-hand book shop find. 
I asked Mum once why she reads a lot of crime novels - her reply - that it was a change from what she does in everyday life! So there is the odd smattering of those in my reading repertoire too! I'm working my way through the Kathy Reichs series as Mum has the full set - every time I visit I'm ready for the next instalment!

And more pretties, but of a different kind!
We were pretty pleased with how our beef beasties went this year - these 6 month old 'calves' went off to a new home yesterday where they can eat and grow for a few more years. For those interested, they are Angus/Dairy crosses.
[And what am I looking forward to today? — Picking our Golden Queen peaches!! (Recent rain has made them slightly spotty so down they must come; plus the sheep and the pig have started camping under the tree!)]
Thanks for visiting, and have a good day - hopefully you can squeeze a bit of stitching into it, too,

Monday, February 20, 2012

Catching up (once more).

Once again I seem to have had a bit of a bloggy break. It's been a case of heads down and tails up for the last week or so. It feels nice to have a quieter week ahead.
Something I've achieved lately has been an apple core runner. It's very similar to my previous one, but this one is actually finished!
I had a few questions about the first one I was working on so I will answer them here.....
The cores are cut with a Go!Baby, which I am fortunate to be able to borrow when I want to. They are cut at approx. 5 1/2" by 7" and have little notches on them to help with the piecing. The notches and size of the cores — and I'm sure the accuracy of the die-cut shapes — make machine piecing a breeze. I easily put this together in an afternoon. I did use pins but it was no fuss really (you know, no cursing, and no tantrums!).

As this is a kit sample for my favourite quilt shop, I kept the quilting simple, with just walking foot lines, following the curve of the cores. [Grin, not that I do much more than 'simple' quilting anyway!]
Then the binding - first time I've used binding cut on a bias for a quilt. I cut it using that fancy technique of making a tube which results in continuous binding - that satisfied the child in me, it was quite fun, once I worked out what I was doing!

I've also been plodding along at my Triangle Surprise blocks, which I started at Retreat last year. (This is an Edyta Sitar pattern). At the moment it is my Leader and Ender project and I feel happy to be making progress (albeit slowly) on it.
51 blocks made so far--still not sure how big I will make it, but enjoying
the effect.
I was away from home for a few days last week. I had two surprises to greet me when I returned —
The sunflowers are out!!
The bumble bees love them.
And, the neighbour had sent down a stem of lilies. I could smell the scent throughout the house and it took quite a while to discover where the MOML had put them!

In case you hadn't noticed, I'm experimenting with labelling my photos... YD is out on the farm and can't help me get it just right - I'll get there! (I've also reduced the size of my photos---has anyone found the post quicker to open today?? How much difference does it make??!!)
Hope your week has got off to a good start; happy sewing everyone,

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Teddy Bears' Picnic

Today I'm linking up with Melody, from A House on the side of the Hill, and joining in with the Teddy Bears' Picnic she hosts every second Thursday.
Now my usual readers will know that the ones with the Bear Making Bug around here are my daughters. (See me as the supplier of threads and materials with a collection of magazines for them to go shopping in!).
A bear for Kurt.
This bear comes courtesy of my ED, Tarn, and is the third one she has made this summer, while recouperating after an op and with no study for 6 weeks :-) .
She made him for her boyfriend who is a keen fisher/sportsman which is why she chose this pattern. She was particularly proud of the toes.... and hasn't she done well with his nose?
For the first two bears made this summer by my ED see this post.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Getting distracted...

In spite of a myriad of pressing projects, I just couldn't help myself last night and put this wee fellow together—

It all started yesterday when YD decided she needed to make a Teddy Bear.
As I gathered materials for her (realising that all of our Teddy Bear making materials are down in Auckland with her sister) I decided she needed her own pin-cushion.
[If the truth be known I've been waiting for an excuse to make this pattern!]
[Sorry, ED, I guess you'll be needing one now!]

Last week I managed to complete my '12 Days of Christmas', the on-line mystery hosted by Temecula Quilt Co. in January.
Quilted and bound
Finished size - 14" x 18"
Quite like the 2 coloured outer border, gives it a point of difference.
  I quilted it with a clamshell pattern - even though I used a stencil I wasn't always even but good practise nonetheless!

So now it's back to my pressing projects - I'm planning a lock-in in my sewing cave today to try and make some  more progress.
Have a great day every-one and happy stitching,