Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Stress Relief Quilt

Last year was a bit stressful for me. A quilting friend suggested that one way of dealing with the stress was to get on the sewing machine whenever I got home. Everyone was getting sick of my I've-had-a-shit-day stories. She said that I should work on some simple blocks to unwind - not something difficult or precious! It was a great suggestion and really helped.

I had been saving scraps from projects for years. Anything that was cut into a nice strip, square or triangle plus some pieced bits have gone into my hoarding bag. The middle part of the block is made just picking up pieces and sewing them together.  No measuring or rotary cutting involved until the piece of fabric is made big enough (150mm by 240mm in this case). For some reason, it's easier to make rectangles rather than squares using this process. Then I heavily starch the block and press well to get it to lie flat. Once it lies flat it can be trimmed back to size.

I added the green frames after I had destressed!  That was not simple.  It didn't help that I cut the light green strips at 70mm wide and then realised that I only had enough dark green fabric to cut 50mm strips. That made the mitred corners very awkward but it looks good and was worth the fiddling to get it right.

This is going to be another community quilt.  We always need good 'boy quilts'.  It's easy to make pretty girly quilts but some of the recipients of our quilts are teenage boys. I think this would be nice for a young boy (maybe not a teenager when you see some of the fabrics) and I have this striped fabric that I would love to use as a border.  The only think is that it's floral.  The first border is a dark brown and I think that one is ok. So is the green border and it doesn't even look like flowers.  It's the third border I'm not sure about.  I love it and I also love the red bit - but would it look right on this quilt? Opinions please!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's easy being green

In between watching the unfolding disaster in Christchurch, I've made a bag using this tote tutorial.

This fabric was a curtain sample book. A reusable bag from recycled fabric. How green can you get! There was one large piece, which I have used for the straps. All the other samples were just trimmed to square them up and made into this bag. And I have enough for another one!!

Wishing all the people in Christchurch a night without too much drama and that the aftershocks are not too shocking.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Variation on hearts

I've been looking for an opportunity to try out this variation on my favourite quilting pattern, meandering hearts. I came up with this during one very boring exam supervision last year. Isn't it just so cute! I had to make up for the nasty centipedes with something cute.

This little bit took me about 30 minutes. If I don't get any faster at this, it's going to take 20 hours just to quilt the last border. I'd better get faster!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Centipedes in my sashing

Leah Day calls this quilting design Trilobite. I think it looks more like a centipede, those really nasty ones you get in St Kitts, Scolopendra Gigantea.

Would you believe when I was looking for an image of this centipede I found out that people keep them as pets! I had one crawl across my foot once and even the little bit of venom on it's feet was enough to bring out a reaction on my skin. Why would you want to keep one?? But doesn't it look lovely as a quilting pattern in my sashing.

Updated to remove image. I just read a scary blog post about getting sued for breaching copyright. Since I can't remember where I got the image and it is highly likely that it wasn't from the original, I decided I'd be better off deleting it. Take it from me, it was a nasty big centipede and you can google it yourself if you're interested!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Concert at Government House

We had a wonderful afternoon at the Governor-General's house today. The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra played a matinée concert in the garden. We had a lovely picnic; smoked salmon croquettes, lovely little quiches, crustless delicate sandwiches and melon with parma ham. You have to eat posh when you go to a posh event. The weather was ideal, not too sunny but still warm.

More quilting next week!

Friday, February 11, 2011

My sewing machine is home

I picked up my machine from the repair shop and was looking forward to some lovely smooth sewing. I was disappointed! The repairman had set the tension correctly. The top tension was set to the big red line on the dial at 4 (I usually have it at 1) and the bobbin tension was tightened to match the top. I don't know if there is something wrong with my machine but if you set the tension where it's meant to be, you can hardly pull the thread through the needle or the bobbin. So I adjusted the bobbin tension so that bobbin 'walks', ie when you dangle the bobbin by the thread, the thread slips through slowly. Then I adjusted the top tension to suit.

Another test on my free motion quilting scrap was still like trying to sew through treacle. My lovely fine 60/8 needle had been replaced by something that could sew several layers of denim! A change of needle fixed the treacle problem and I could at last get on with the dragonfly. I love the pebbles on the black fabric.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Exciting package from Belgium

I'm so excited about the mail today. Look what I got.

Melanie put me on to Geninne's blog . She does the most beautiful illustrations of birds as well as other things from nature. She has put some of her designs on to this website where they do print-on-demand items. I have number 6 and number 7 of this pillow - in the world!! I thought it was such a cool idea and I wanted to own some of Geninne's art so I ordered these pillows. I'm so pleased with them.

Here is the heart quilt that is going to charity through my quilting guild. This one is going to Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.