A Friday Finish – Fabric Basket

Last night was spent very productively at a class at Village Books and Crafts making a fabric basket.

Daughter #2 sewing away on her Bernina.
Daughter #2 sewing away on her Bernina.

I raided my stash of home dec fabric to take along, thinking we would finish a couple of baskets before the evening was finished. Nope, just one between the two of us. We always say it feels like you have half a brain when a migraine hits, and yesterday both Daughter #2 and I were afflicted. Last night we proved it, one of us in charge of cutting, pinning and ironing, the other driving the sewing machine. At the end of the evening our combined efforts equalled those of the one other participant. No more medical proof is required!

The home dec fabric proved a little hard to sew, especially the handles. No broken needles, but a change to a jeans needle was required and a few fingers were stuck trying to get pins through the layers. In future I would definitely use a quilt weight fabric.

The finished basket

All packed up with the fabric we didn’t use. Plenty of room for scraps that’s for sure.

We made a large basket, 10 inches in diameter, and 8 inches high. I wanted something substantial to contain all the little fabric scraps presently stored on a desk top, and destined for a scrap vortex quilt, or similar.

The next baskets will have a strip of lining fabric visible around the top, but I didn’t get the instruction to cut the inner fabric longer, so we improvised. They certainly look better with a contrasting trim.

Never mind, it is still good for purpose, and I will take the basket out to the quilt shed later and fill it with little scraps. Another basket in a bright batik is cut, and ready to sew before the weekend is out. I hope your weekend is as productive.

On another note, the Rugby World Cup starts overnight with England vs Fiji. I won’t mention who I’m backing! I foresee lots of hand sewing in my near future, while watching replays.

Linking up with Crazy Mom quilts.


WIP Wednesday – Chasing away the Winter blues

The centre medallion from my MAO quilt. yes, there is an extra seam in there….don’t ask!

I started this project with a hiss and a roar, but it’s now whimpering in the corner, calling out…. “Finish Me”.

I confess to having gotten a little distracted of late, finishing off one quilt,  and starting another. Then there’s the time spent putting things in online shopping carts, then taking them out again. I keep reminding myself I will need the cash to buy fabric in person next week when we go away. 25 years married just happens to coincide with a conference over the ditch, so the in-laws will hold down the home front while we go catch some sun in Oz. After the Winter and Spring we have had so far, I am looking forward to seeing the sun.P1070245

This section of the Midnight at the Oasis quilt represents my first excursion into paper piecing. It had its ups and downs. The first problem was that I designed the template wrong, but that was surmountable (in future I will remember to not add a quarter inch to the fold line, duh!). The second issue was engaging my brain to understand how to attach the various pieces together. I was almost ready to give up and go seek help, but after taking a break for a few hours, I puzzled it out.

I cheated a bit with the centre appliqué section, inserting just one circle of fabric, and satin stitching it around the edges to fix. I came to the conclusion that learning one new skill per section was sufficient.

Midnight at the Oasis, the sunny version.

I have the petal blocks almost ready for the first border, minus one I filched for the previous quilt. I need to blanket stitch around the petals….should take “just” a day or so. As you can see, I am aiming for “bright and cheerful”. Bright enough to chase away the Winter blues.

Hope your week is going well.

Linking up eventually with WIP Wednesday and Lets Bee Social.

Indigo blues on the design wall

After the misfire and rejection of the previous quilt by Daughter #1 (it had spots!), I had a brainwave over the weekend. On Friday I was blessed with a big stack of 14 1/2 inch improv nine patch blocks, intercepted as they arrived at the Arts Recycling Centre. I presented these to Daughter #1 as a starting point for a new quilt, with the idea of interspersing them with some contrasting blocks using the same colours, but with a touch of purple added for zing.

The free blocks from the ARC. A mixture of grey, black and indigo blue, with a navy blue strip between each block.
The free blocks from the ARC. A mixture of grey, black and indigo blue, with a navy blue strip between each block.

Houston, we have a winner!

So, out to the Quilt Shack we wandered, and after going through my stash of scraps, she narrowed down the pile of scraps to those fabrics she liked. It was a good thing I hadn’t quite gotten round to cleaning up the chaos, after finishing the last flimsy on Friday (as if!).P1070280

I now have a pile of mainly plum-purple fabric, with a little blue and black thrown in for good measure. The funny thing is, the “acceptable fabrics” pile includes spotty fabrics. It turns out she is just very particular about which spots are acceptable.

Now I just need to come up with a pattern for a scrappy block, about 14 1/2 inches in size. I will stew over it for a few days, but all suggestions will be gratefully received.

Linking up to Design Wall Monday.

Friday Flimsy Finish

I’d holler and hoot with excitement for having finished the top I’ve been working on the last couple of weeks, but I’m too tired, and desperately  in need of a cup of tea. If my children were mind-readers, they’d be boiling the jug as I write this, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

Excuse the photo, its the end of the day, the shadows are long, and the westerlies are a blowing.

So, drum roll please……Introducing “Blackcurrant tea”, or “Twilight in the Delphinium patch” or some other name….any suggestions? It needs a garden related name, since I included birds, beetles and botanicals amongst all those fabrics. Too many fabrics to count.

I had it in mind to gift this one to Daughter #1 when finished, as purple is her favourite colour, and I haven’t made her a quilt yet. She has previously asked for a quilt made from my precious French General Josephine charm squares, but I am trying to provide alternatives. After viewing the quilt for the first time, she has informed me she loves it….except for the spots. Needless to say, I am not undoing it to replace the main fabric! My precious French General fabric may still need to be sacrificed.

I love the back of the quilt flimsy, it shows up the scrappy fabric choices I made even better than the front. Many of the fabric scraps were purchased as individual charm squares, or were fabric scraps from the Arts Recycling Centre.P1070273

I will go into the construction details at some later stage, but for now I am just happy to see it finished. I will say though, my first quilting with Aurifil thread has been quite enjoyable. More thread seems to fit on the bobbin, so fewer pesky bobbin changes.

Now, what to do with all the left-over borders, scraps and such? As per usual, I made enough of some things to make two quilts. At some stage I should read up on “Quilt Math”, perhaps the answers to my over abundance of blocks may lie in calculating my quilt requirements before I start sewing?

Have a good weekend. Here in the Manawatu it’s going to be sunny for half the weekend (hooray!), so potato planting is on the agenda. Roll on Spring.

Linking up eventually with Crazy Mom Quilts, and TGIFF.

Ignoring the “should’s”

I “should” be doing some housework, it’s Spring after all. Or making something nutritious for dinner, including at least 5+ vegetables to avoid scurvy and malnutrition. But instead, I have been quilting.

This quilt has reached the stage where I have become impatient to finish it, and that is driving me on. The flying geese seemed to take an age, and the little pile of offcuts has had to be moved several times, as it outgrew its spot, and toppled over. Maybe the stitch and flip method wasn’t such a good idea, as I cannot bear to throw all those little triangles away, but can’t for the life of me figure out what I shall do with them. Especially since I already have a pile from the Gypsy Wife quilts.P1070260

I was going to make this quilt for the sofa back, to replace a quilt gifted to me, but which I have never liked. To that end it made sense to make it a rectangular shape, rather than a square. But as every border was added, it  cried out to be made symmetrical. And now it is too big.

I want to use up some more scraps before I call it a day, so I think I will add one more pieced border. My plan is to sew small strips of purple/black/grey together, then maybe add a final border strip of the Riley Blake black and grey spot. Lastly, I shall embroider the orange petal blocks before quilting, since I miss having some handwork to do in the evenings.

I got some quilting and embroidery ideas from the latest addition to my bookshelf, “1000 Quilt Inspirations” by Sandra Sider. A very inspirational read, with enough quilt inspiration to last several lifetimes.6102068Ay8L._SX487_BO1,204,203,200_

Have a fun week, and if you are a Kiwi, enjoy the sunshine for the next day or two.

Linking up with Scraptastic Tuesday, WIP Wednesday and Lets Bee Social.

WIP Wednesday

This post is a bit on the early side, but since tomorrow is “Oh my gosh, we have money in the back account day” (i.e. Pay Day), I thought I would get this done before I turned to necessary things like restocking the pantry with edibles.

The Plum tree yesterday, today it is missing a few flowers due to the wind and rain. I'm glad I took a photo of it in all its glory.
The Plum tree yesterday, today it is missing a few flowers due to the wind and rain. I’m glad I took a photo of it in all its glory.

It is the first day of Spring, and we have a storm covering much of the country, wreaking havoc. We have been spared the worst of the weather her e in the Manawatu, but we have had the Minister of Civil Defence in town reviewing the damage from the big floods two months ago. The Hubbie was a fly on the wall at the meeting, having the important job of clicking a mouse to keep the slide show going during the meeting. Such an exciting life he leads! We toured the area affected by the floods last weekend, while visiting some beaches south of Whanganui. It’s not strictly rubber necking, since it’s work related for The Hubbie.

The Twilight in the Delphinium Patch quilt, as of the weekend.
The “Twilight in the Delphinium Patch” quilt, as of the weekend. I must think of a new name for it. Suggestions?

As for me, I have been keeping the home fires burning with the last of the winter’s wood, and dashing in and out of my quilting room. My adventures in Orange Peel quilting have been the source of much of my creative outputs for the week.

Border #2 attached, the quilt is about 37 1/2 inches at this stage.

I sewed the petal patches together, and pieced a purple batik border around last week before asking for ideas for further borders. Wonky crosses were one suggestion, but I decided to go for a border of some fabric I had bought for the original quilt, then some scrappy flying geese in low volume and black fabrics. Wonky crosses might feature in the next round.

Flying Geese for Border #3...
Flying Geese for Border #3, with a narrow purple strip to separate the borders, or …
Flying Geese, without the intervening purple strip. Note the strip will not be this exact fabric, maybe another purple batik.
Flying Geese, without the intervening purple strip. Note the strip will not be this exact fabric, maybe another purple batik.

What I am currently pondering is whether to separate the current border from the Flying Geese with a narrow purple border. I have pinned up some fabric to give you an idea of how it would look, and some feedback would be appreciated.

Purple border, or no purple border?

P1070252I made the Flying Geese by attaching squares to the corners of the central piece, attaching by stitching down the centre, then trimming the excess. While this method is a bit wasteful, I am adding the trimmed bits to a pile to make a Scrap Vortex quilt from (….some time this century). I started making one during the QAL, but decided I was sick and tired of my scraps, and needed some more exciting ones before going any further. Some of this fabric is from the Cotton & Steel Spring 2015 collection, which definitely rates as exciting for me. The good thing about receiving fabric 6 months or more after it is released in the USA, is that it actually is Spring, or Fall, before it gets here, so it is timed well for our seasons too.liberatedMedWhile working on this quilt, I have also been reading Gwen Marsden’s “Liberated Medallion Quilts” from our library. I like the freedom of the approach, and suspect I may indulge in a few more medallion quilts. It seems a great way to re-purpose orphan appliqué blocks as centrepieces, and try out new blocks without signing up for a whole quilt of them, such as the remaining blocks from the Arts Recycling Centre.

Have a good week, and if you are a kiwi, try and keep dry!

Linking up eventually with WIP Wednesday and Lets Bee Social.