Monday, April 29, 2013

Angry Birds

I'm still quilting away on Mrs Billings. It's so relaxing, and it's keeping me warm in this cooler weather too. Here is one of my favourite sections that I've worked on recently:

Doesn't he have angry eyes? It looks like he's glaring at me! I'm sure he's telling me to get busy and quilt some more! Chatter soon xox

Friday, April 26, 2013

A visit with friends :-)

Today I had a lovely outing at Hettie's Patch - I was on a mission: To meet up with Sue, Pip and Sheila (no blog). Sue is over on holidays from New Zealand, and it seems having a great time! She and I have corresponded for quite a while over our blogs and mutual love of repro fabrics, so it was like meeting up with an old friend.

In a moment of complete dim-wittedness, I managed to leave not only my camera, but also my cell phone at home, so I had no means of recording the outing for posterity, but when I get the chance, I'll steal a pic from Pip or Sue.

Here are my modest gatherings from a little retail therapy:

A small pack of batiks, perfect for the Gloria Loughman workshop I'm attending soon. A really neat set of templates to make up the cog wheel block, and a back up blue washout marking pen. I'm doing a lot of marking on Mrs Billings, and it would really make me cranky if I ran out of ink in the middle of a quilting session!

And speaking of Mrs Billings:

I moved the hoop last night and started on a new area of quilting. I'd ideally like to move the hoop once per day - the middle section was very heavily quilted and took two days. I have a deadline, and I'd like to reach it. I have my fingers crossed ... but not for too long, it'd make quilting tricky!

A few comment follow ups: A bit thank you to Lin and Kim for putting me on to some leads for the cute pink repro fabric I'm so in love with. I'd say given the age of it, I've probably missed the boat, but a girl can hope right?

And thank you also for the lovely comments from the following 'no reply' commenters: Laura in IA, and Lynne from Hawaii. I do try and respond to everyone personally via email unless I don't have an email address to contact you on.

Sjoukje from the Netherlands asked why I don't hand quilt more often. I'd really like to, but I reserve hand quilting for the most special of my projects. Like the Nearly Insane that I finished year before last, now Mrs Billings, and the occasional wholecloth project. Because hand quilting takes so much longer than machine quilting, it's just not practical for me to hand quilt a lot of the things I make. And I love to machine quilt too, so it's win-win for me really.

Alrighty, I'm going to tidy up the dinner dishes and get busy with some more quilting - chatter soon! xox

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ready, Set ... Go!!!

Quilting on Mrs Billings coverlet has begun, and I'm thrilled with how it's coming along already. Getting up close and personal with all the little bits and pieces and deciding how to quilt them is really fun.

While I was stitching just now, I found a little area that had come undone. I'll have to applique it down to secure it - you can just see it there on the left side of the square, by the lighter floral fabric. I'm sure there will be lots of little bits and pieces that will need fixing up as I go along.

This is going to take a looooong time ... hopefully I'll still be able to find interesting things to share with you over the next several months. I'm  heading back to the quilting hoop, chatter soon! xox

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

This Week's Stars

Just a few stars to share that I put together last night. You know, I lost count of how many I've made. I shall have to employ Bonnie's technique of pinning them together in groups of 10. A job for when I get off the computer.

I cut a few more fabrics to add to the mix, it was nice to get a couple of brighter ones in there. My commitment to putting 15 minutes aside clearly hasn't had 100% success, I'll have to do better.

Does anyone have a clue what the fabric is in the large (pink) square top left? I just love it, and have no idea where the small piece came from that was in my stash. It's so pretty, I really wish I had more of it.

And in completely unrelated news:

I don't have a problem ... honest!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pottering along :-)

I'm quilting away in stolen moments, and having fun with this little project. Something I haven't done in a long time is trapunto work. There are so many different ways to do this, but I'm using a technique which is traditional, and also called cording.

A while back I purchased some balls of trapunto wool from Hettie's Patch, and I've been putting them into use. You work from the reverse side of the quilt, using a trapunto needle, thread a short length of the wool. Gently tease apart some of the threads making up the fabric, and pass a length of wool into the area you want to emphasise. Tease apart the threads in  the area you want the needle to come out again, and carefully pull the needle through.

You do need to be careful not to break any of the threads in the fabric and make holes. If you work carefully, you'll be able to tease the little gaps closed again, and once I've washed this project, you shouldn't be able to see any evidence on the reverse side.

I've only done about a third of the swirly sections with the trapunto, and though it's hard to photograph, you can see some of the areas are raised. It should be much more apparent after I've taken the quilting out of the hoop, and when the blue lines are washed out. The narrow circle outlining the design has also been done, and it's much easier to see there.

Lizzy has loaded Mrs Billings and she's due back to me any time now, so I probably won't get too much further on this little quilt. I'm so looking forward to quilting on Mrs Billings, I really can't wait! xox

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Hand Quilting

Just for fun (and to get some practice) yesterday I prepped a pre-printed mini wholecloth project that I've had laying around for a little while. I have a feeling I may have picked it up from The Stencil Company while I was in Paducah in 2010 - I have a few of them now.

This one is called King Arthur's Crown, and it's a 16" square - I don't think it'll take long to get it done given the size - this is what I achieved in about 90 minutes last night:

Hopefully I'll get a little more speed going with practice, or Mrs Billings is going to take a LONG time! Chatter soon :-)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Top Finished!!

Go me!! Last night (while watching an amazing episode of Survivor) I put the top and bottom border on the Civil War Crossings quilt top. Ohhh, and can I mention for those in the know ... I'm on Team Malcolm!! Yay!!

And I'm back ... I'm just so easily distracted ... Here's the completed top:


Seriously  now, would it kill me to hit the top with a little best press and an iron before I share it with you all? Apparently I'm just to impatient for that ...

Even though you can't see the corners because of my mad photography skillz :-) I can share with you that after this baby is quilted, I will be rounding off the corners as the pattern suggests for a fun little touch. This also means that I'll be cutting the binding fabric on the bias. The binding fabric is the brown stripe at the bottom there, so I'll be curious to see how that looks cut on the cross.

Camo and I have some shopping to do today, and then I'm either going to do some work on my hexies, or maybe break out a little hand quilting for some practice. I haven't done any in a while, so need to brush up on my technique :-) Chatter soon!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Almost there!

I've almost finished putting the Civil War Crossings top together - all it needs now is a top and bottom border.

I hope to get the borders on shortly, and tomorrow when there is some nice natural light, I'll take a much better picture. It's so much fun to have another project approaching the finish line!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Civil War Crossings

Last night and for a little of today, I've been revisiting a project I started a long time ago. It's my Civil War Crossings quilt (designed by Barbara Brackman). Linda and I both fell in love with it, duly ordered it, and I picked it up when I visited with her in 2008. As you can see, I don't rush things :-)

I had to crop the picture down - my finger was photo-bombing! All the blocks have been made for some months, so all I had to do was cut the settings squares and put the top together. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to show you a completed flimsy ...

Not much cutting or sewing was achieved yesterday, in the afternoon I took Camo and a friend along to the movies - we saw The Croods, which was quite fun. I wonder how long it will be before he doesn't want me to stay and watch with him, and asks to be dropped off?

In the morning I was stuck in front of the TV - unable to tear myself away from the happenings in Boston. My heart goes out to everyone involved, I'll be praying for you all. I just don't understand it - sometimes it seems like the whole world has gone mad.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A 'lil bit posh :-)

The funniest thing happened last night. After we all got home from a family outing, Marty and I settled in to watch the episode of Downton Abbey that we'd Tivo'd. Don't get me started on how far behind the rest of the world we are with the show ... that's a whole different story.

Anyways, watching ... watching ... enjoying ... and then I let out a yelp which startled Marty ... I had seen something happening on screen ...

Jimmy was busy polishing one of the exact same candelabras that I had just purchased two of a few weeks ago! Marty paused the screen and put one of mine in front of the TV to share a picture with you. How funny is that! Well, we thought it was ... and a teeny bit posh too :-)

Later in the show we see it's placed back on a table in the drawing room. I love it! Next week we'll be seeing the third season's finale. I'm not looking forward to it ... it seems like something ominous is about to happen ... no spoilers please! xox

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cutting led to piecing ...

So after all that cutting, I was able to put a few more stars together. This time in the reverse colourway as I haven't made nearly as many of them ...

The top right star has one of my all-time favourite fabrics in the centre. It's a background fabric from the original French General Rouenneries line. I wish I had the foresight to buy a whole bunch of it - now I just have tiny snippets, the latest piece is thanks to my dear friend Prue. It was released again in a couple of different colourways with the French General Favourites collection, so if I'm a really lucky girl, perhaps this colourway will appear in an upcoming collection.

I'm going to try and do 15 minutes of cutting each day as my schedule allows - I should be able to manage it. Only full scrap boxes will stop me :-)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Cutting ... cutting ... and more cutting ...

I haven't had many moments to myself these past two days - family and kid commitments have been very time consuming.

In stolen moments though, I have managed to turn this:



Into this:

I don't know if it's just me being slow - but I find cutting quite time consuming. Especially cutting from scraps. But anyways, there are a lot of components ready for a whole pile of scrappy stars now.

That pile of scrap fabric was contained in a project box - I guess I'd just stuffed random bits and pieces in there during a tidy up. Now the project box is empty, and about to be filled again with an actual project ... my scrappy stars project. How fun :-)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

More scrappy stars

Finally I put together a few more of my scrappy star blocks. These are so much fun and fast to make, I don't know why I haven't made more of them.


I need to go through my 1.5" strip box and cut out some more pieces, I've exhausted the small supply I'd already put aside. While this is a sweet project to work on, it doesn't seem to make a visible dent in the scrap box supply. I can't imagine I'll EVER run out of scraps!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Quickie Table Runner

I needed a quickie version of a table runner to take to work tomorrow for show and tell. I was going to take one that I had given to my Mum, and when I called her, I discovered I'd given it to someone else, and it was going to take way too long to go get it ... What to do?? Make another one of course :-)

Of course, it still needs quilting, but it's exactly what I need for now. I used a border print that I've had in my stash for AT LEAST 10 years. It's a Kaye England fabric, called Matters of the Heart. I know I've got a lot of it, probably 12 yards or so. It's so pretty, but I still don't remember why I bought so much!

I'm not sure when I'll quilt this baby ... but I know it'll look great on our kitchen table. Chatter soon :-)

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Hexie progress ...

This hexie project is such fun, I can hardly tear myself away from it right now. It's neat to see how the elements are coming together.

Today I cut out the large centre floral piece - it's down at the bottom right of the picture, you can't see too much of it. And I added the white hexagons around the unit I worked on over the last several days.

It's not easy to see in the picture, but the white fabric I've used for the newest hexie unit has little pearlised dots, it's very cute. I'll be alternating between the spotty fabric and the white fabric for the last round on the hexie units. I'll need to get busy with some more of the green diamonds too.

So much fun, I'll have to get my fill of this project, as it'll be on the back-burner for a few months while I'm busy quilting.

I'll take the hexagons to quilt group with me tomorrow, and then tomorrow evening I'm thinking I better catch up on some of my little star blocks - they've been all but forgotten! Chatter soon :-)

Monday, April 08, 2013

Rail Fence Variation blocks

I've had a number of emails asking for size and cutting information for the Rail Fence blocks that my friends and I exchanged last year, so I thought I'd share the details with you all.


The red block in the centre is a 1.5" square (finishing at 1").
For either side, cut two 1.5" x 3.5" rectangles (finished size 1" x 3")
The six remaining strips, cut three pairs of 1.5" x 7.5" rectangles (finished size 1" x 7")

Our quilts have 99 blocks in them, eleven rows of nine blocks. Please don't ask for fabric requirements ... I used up scraps, so I have no clue!

When we constructed our blocks, we actually made the strips a little longer so that we were able to trim the blocks back to be neater. One thing you will have to be very careful with, is using a scant seam allowance. It is SUPER EASY to have these blocks come out a little narrow by using an inaccurate seam allowance. Do a test block first, you won't regret it.

Here is where we were got our inspiration. I'm so thrilled that we participated in the exchange - it has made our quilts all the more scrappy, thank you Linda and Donna! :-)

Now for something entirely different ... I had a question a little while back from Nomaiaci Kamakura. I wanted to reply via email, but the address is set to no-reply. Nomaiaci asked if I had any advice regarding the Mrs Billings Coverlet project as they have recently purchased the pattern. I sure do! Be super accurate with your cutting and your seam allowances. When you're putting so many pieces together, it's critical to have everything finish at the right size, or the next borders just aren't going to fit. Also, when you've cut out your pieces, take the time to mark the registration dots on the reverse side of your fabric shapes. These dots give you clues about where the pieces fit together, and where your seams need to hit to get everything lined up nicely. Do these things, and exercise patience, and you'll have a masterpiece before you know it. Hope this helps!

Well, I'm off do do laundry, and clean the laundry room ... how fun ... NOT! Chatter soon :-)

Friday, April 05, 2013

Loving the Hexies

These 30's print hexagons are such fun - the fabrics are something I don't normally work with, and each time I pick up another print, I remember my trip to the USA last year where the majority of them were collected. I can just eke out enough hexies for all the coloured rounds from a jelly roll strip, or a 2" width of fabric - handy!


The yellow fabric is (I think) more of a 50's style print, despite that, I think the colours work so well with the other fabrics.

I'm just dying to get some of the big units sewn together - I'll then get a real idea of how this is going to look. As soon as Mrs Billings is back with me, I'm going to be hand quilting full steam, so I need to get my fix of this project while I can :-)

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Rail Fence Blocks

On Tuesday I worked hard at getting the rows together of my Rail Fence quilt top. I managed to get a lot of them made, and then last night finished up the last bit.

There was a slight hitch. During the exchange I knew that I was short one block and planned to make it up when I was ready for the assembly. What was not planned: Losing the little baggie with the red centre squares. There was a small amount of panic. A dash of tearing the sewing room apart. A concerted effort to find more fabric online. All fruitless. Then I sent an email off to Linda and Donna begging for a scrap, knowing full well that as soon as I made that request, my baggie would appear. And it did - within 5 minutes. Crisis averted :-)

So I made up the extra block, assembled the last row, and laid all the rows out in the lounge:

Loving it! At the moment it's 63" x 77", so it wouldn't hurt to add a couple of borders. Perhaps a red inner border, and then a fabulous large repro print for the border. Yummmmm :-)

Not sure just yet when I'll finish putting the rows of this baby together, I'm actually quite excited to work on some more of the 30's hexie project. Who would have thought I'm not over hexagons just yet?!?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Handwork

Three Wednesdays per month, some friends and I meet up for quilting at a local sewing shop. It's really fun, and we get plenty of chattering, and a little quilting/sewing done. I'm not crazy about taking my machine out for exercise all the time, so I like to do handwork. Only today, because Mrs Billings is out visiting, I couldn't think of any handwork to take.

And then I remembered my 30's hexagon project. It had been on the back-burner for a little while - you know - busy with other things and all that. But still adorable, and could use some attention, so out it came! Today I did something I'd been wanting to do since I started with these sweet fabrics ... I reverse appliqu├ęd the fabric panel in the centre of a hexagon unit. Not making any sense? Have a looky:

I'm just thrilled with how the hexies are looking so far, and I can't wait to get some more done. I used a blue washout marker to give me some placement lines, so I need to sponge those away, and then I can give the piece a good press. After I've finished the light hexies, then I can apply the diamond shapes. It will be super fun when I can put a few of the units together. Yay!

Tomorrow, I'll share where I'm up to with the rail fence variation blocks, and hopefully I'll have enough time to go thru some of my many (and piling up) emails. Chatter soon xox

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Top finished!

I'm just so thrilled - at 10.30pm on the 31st of March, I finally finished the top of my Mrs Billings quilt. Yay!! With that done, yesterday I pieced the backing together, and now I'm free to work on some other things while my quilt is being basted. I'm so excited to play with some other projects!!

Today I decided I'd start putting together the rail fence variation blocks that Linda, Donna and I made last year. These are such lovely blocks, and I've been dying to play with them. If I'm really good, maybe I'll get them all together, and see if I need a border as well.


And yesterday (even though it was a public holiday) the Postie delivered some more plates for my Mason's Vista collection. I now have 10 dinner plates. Though I don't have enough for a full Christmas just yet, I definitely have enough for our next Big Dinner Party :-) Here is my collection as of last night:


I still have items on my wish list. I would like to get more of the two handled soup bowls, enough side plates and bowls to match the number of dinner plates that I have, a salt and pepper shaker set and two gravy boats. The ultimate item to have would be a soup tureen, but they are ultra expensive, so that one may just stay a wish :-)

A big thank you to a sweet reader named Elaine who alerted me to the fact that the citrus reamer that Nanna gave me was actually a Belleek piece. How exciting! And I also had some tips regarding the staining on the Carltonware, but I'll check back with that info later on.

Chatter soon friends, I'm going to spend some q-time with Bernie :-)

Monday, April 01, 2013

A little housekeeping ...

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I'm trying some new readers because of the coming closure of Google Reader, hopefully I'll find the perfect one soon! My only concern with all the ones I've been looking into lately is that they all look to Google Reader for my list of feeds, so what will happen when Google Reader is gone? Questions, Queries, Posers ... Thoughts anyone?

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