My Small World flimsy finished

In keeping with my determination to make quilting fun again, I have been sticking to my Jen Kingwell quilts this last week.

First, I took advantage of a Spotlight sale to put aside a big bale of batting, and I hope to be able to hand quilt Gypsy Wife #2 soon. Looking forward to this immensely.gw2016buttonSM

Next up was Gypsy Wife #3. The QAL starts next month, but since that is only a few days away, I allowed myself some “play” time, and made a few blocks. I wanted to justify picking up some fabric from my LQS, small samples from the fabric reps that are just right for inserting into a scrap quilt. This version is going to be more muted, and with a lot of floral fabrics. Sort of Gypsy Wife meets Spring flower garden.


But the big finish has been finally sewing together the sections for the My Small World quilt.P1070900

I had been waiting for an appliqué lesson before tackling the last part of the quilt, but life kept getting in the way. So, I machine sewed on the two suns and called it quits.

“All” that is left now is the embroidery.

In case you have noticed that my quilt differs a little from the pattern, as noted in an earlier post, I tried to finish the quilt on a week long break last year. Having forgotten some notions, and trying to complete a section per day, led to some changes. Plus I gave myself permission to substitute if I didn’t like a block. That happened quite a lot! If you are interested in checking out some other versions, or making the quilt yourself, this link to the 2015 QAL will guide you to everything you need to know.MSWqal300

This quilt is on my 2016 FAL list, so I shall keep blowing ahead. Now, how to quilt it?

Linking up with Lets Bee Social, WIP Wednesday, and Crazy Mom Quilts.


My anti-word of 2016 – “Should”

A few years ago I took advantage of some free counselling after a particularly nasty end to a supervisory relationship during my post-grad studies. My very wise counsellor pointed out that many of my sentences contained the word – “Should”.

I know where it comes from, and have learnt with time that employing that word robs me of joy. I employ it while heaping burdens of expectation on myself, expectations not usually shared by the people for whom I am labouring.

So, this year I am going to try to identify the occasions when “should” comes out to play, then remove it from my vocabulary.

Baby quilt #1, ready for binding.

This of course is easier said than done. Take one of my 2016 FAL goals – to make three baby quilts. I made this goal because I am suddenly surrounded by new neighbours in the throes of procreating. Now, a “good” neighbour would do something to say “Hi”, since these neighbours have all shifted in only last month. I am a quilter, so I “should” make them a quilt. Hence, I committed myself to making quilts.

Of course I eventually came to my senses, and decided to finish the one I was working on, then find another way to say “hi”, like delivering some of our thousands of plums to them. Or making muffins. Except while I was delivering the first (and only) quilt, I met one of the new neighbours for the first time. The quilt recipient pointed out that they were also pregnant, leaving me with seemingly little option but to say another quilt was in the making.

It was a windy day, so we took shelter amongst the garden for a photo.

In the way of these things, I intercepted a $5 charm pack yesterday at my LQS, so the cost isn’t the issue. It is that making these utility quilts means I am getting little time to explore quilting, learn, expand my skills, and quilt for the joy of it. Yes, I could use the opportunity of making these quilts to do these very things. But when you are faced with say, finishing five quilts in six weeks to give as Christmas gifts, then speed is more important than artistry. And so, quilting becomes just a chore. A chore with a price, since extended time at my machine triggers migraines.


Hence enrolling in the 2016 Gypsy Wife QAL. I love this quilt. I love picking out each and every little scrap to use in it, and after finishing them, they are all mine.


What does this means going forward into 2016?

It means I am going to re-examine my FAL list, and make sure my goals include quilts I want to make, not feel I “should” make. Some editing is required, and then I aim to add quilts to the list that satisfy my new criteria:

  • Do I want to make it?
  • Am I going to learn something new?
  • Does the fabric and pattern make my heart skip a beat with anticipation when I look at it?

And if I feel antipathy, a sense of dread, or boredom, then it gets the chop.

Haven’t parted with these scraps yet.

I am also going to start getting rid of my scraps and trimmings. These have been piling up around me, determining my quilt choices. I want to liberate myself from feeling like I have to use every last scrap. This is going to become optional instead. Or, I might find someone to swap scraps with, since other peoples scraps are always better!

To this end, I emptied my rubbish bin into the trash sack this morning, without sorting out all the little scraps I might use one day. (Still feeling a little guilty)

I am also going to donate my enormous pile of leftover Pansy Blocks to our Guilds Charity Block collection. I disliked making the first quilt, I cannot bear the thought of making a second. I have learnt my lesson, and I will never collect fabric like that again. Begone pansies!

I have decided that 2016 is going to be the year of Liberated Quilting, just not quite in the modern quilting sense.

Linking up eventually with Crazy Mom Quilts.




Gypsy Wife #3 started


I’ve done it. I’m committed now.

I’ve pulled the fabric, entirely from stash…P1070856

I’ve chosen my “hero” fabrics I want to really emphasise….P1070859

…found a box to store the fabric in….P1070862 (1)

and picked a quick block to test out the fabrics.P1070864

Now all I have to do is resurrect the spreadsheet to organise my progress, add the QAL button to my blog, and clear the decks of a few other projects.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday and Lets Bee Social.


Gypsy Wife QAL

Woohoo! I have an excuse to make another Gypsy Wife quilt. As if I needed one.gw2016buttonSM

I was reading my blog feed this morning, while contemplating doing yet another load of laundry (sigh). Then I read that Megan and Hydeeann are co-hosting a Gypsy Wife QAL this year.

As Hydeeann notes in her introductory post, not many finished the 2014 QAL in time for the final link-up, and the 2016 QAL will give quilters a chance to finish, or start anew.ame1170_gypsy_wife_210x270_fa_page_01

I know I have an appalling record with QAL’s, but I love this quilt! I’ve already pieced two versions, one for summer using a Riley Blake range called Sidewalks as the main fabrics…

Gypsy Wife #1 on the washing line, earlier in the year. It’s now on my bed, my favourite quilt.

…and one for winter or autumn using many, many scraps…

Gypsy Wife #2, the winter version. My main change is the 12.5 inch block to the top left, and the blocks under it. I added these to increase the width of the quilt to cover my king-size bed a little better.

The funny thing about the second quilt is that I started it using up scraps from the 2015 National Symposium, held here in Palmerston North. I was gifted scraps from a workshop, and wanted to use them in the quilt to remember my first Symposium experience. Now, some of those fabrics annoy me (Grrr), and I don’t feel completely happy with the end product.

So, I am tempted to start again. After all, if I’ve already made two, my chances of staying with the QAL should surely be fairly high…right?

This time I would use the spreadsheet developed by WIP Girl for the 2014 QAL, and keep track of my fabric choices a little better. I downloaded it last time, but didn’t use it. Tracking my progress might also help me avoid ending the construction phase, yet somehow missing some blocks, while having duplicates of others. As a result I made a few block substitutions during the construction phase, so neither of my quilts completely follow the pattern.

Hydeeann has written a guide to fabric selection for the quilt, which emphasises the range of fabrics and values you need to make this quilt shine. I used Kona Snow and a grey solid as the low volume/neutrals in my first quilt, and Crosshatch in Grey for the second. I quite like the look of a consistent neutral in the quilt, as I feel it helps tie in some of my other fabric choices.

This time I might be swayed towards another in jewel tones (William Morris in jewel tones?), or go all out and do something fresh and spring-like (Mostly Manor by Victoria Findlay Wolfe). I am off to contemplate fabric, and Gypsies….

And if you are thinking of joining, I purchased my pattern directly from Amitie Textiles here.

Happy quilting.


WIP Wednesday

I have no idea of the date, but I think it’s sometime heading towards the middle of the month already! We still have the Christmas tree up, we are still eating the festive food, and The Hubbie is enjoying his longest summer holiday ever. 2016 is starting out very well indeed.


With The Hubbie puttering around building a deck, I am making great strides at tackling things on my 2016 FAL list. On Monday I attended a Husky Day (Husqvarna machine day) at my LQS. It was the last Husky day before the shop shuts it’s doors, so I thought I would put in my first appearance since buying my machine two years ago. It never does to rush these things.

With a day of sewing under my belt, the baby quilt (#6 on FAL list) is almost finished. Just the binding to go. My careful plan fell apart in the shop, since room was at a premium. Hence the blocks are not as well distributed as when they arrived at the shop. I ran a double line of quilting down each seam, and decided to leave it there. I picked up some cotton/bamboo batting from the shop, the last piece of any dimensions or type to be had. I had to cut and join it unfortunately, since it was two inches too narrow. I still have yardage of some of these fabrics left, so I am contemplating whether to make a scrappy binding, or use one fabric alone. Opinions?


The real achievement of the week, however, has been starting my string quilt (#5 on FAL list).


It comprises 12 inch squares, half blue, half brown, with a very dark strip running through the middle of each block. At first I was excited over how many strips appeared to be used up in each block, then I remembered another box of strips, and my excitement abated somewhat. I think I enjoy cutting fabric more then sewing it, but it does have consequences.P1070827

I am determined to use a great many of these strips up, but I sometimes wonder if I should just donate all my scraps to a kindergarten or preschool, and just get on with making quilts I really love (i.e. more Jen Kingwell quilts).

It just seems so wasteful though.

Anyway, a more pleasant problem is slowly ripening on the plum tree.P1070828

Does anyone have a great recipe for plum jam or preserves? Not ordinary plum jam, since it just sits in the cupboard till I throw it out several years later. Something spectacular, involving spices or alcohol, that will enthuse my family enough to want to eat many, many jars of jam. I give away most of the crop, but it would be nice to use more plums this year. They are not large, but can be de-stoned with patience. The tree is very old, and I have no idea of the varietal name, all I know is that they are beautiful to eat.

Hope you are having a great week.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday and Lets Bee Social.



Gypsy Wife Scrap quilt

I pulled the leftover blocks from GW#1 out of the recesses of my sewing table for the 2016 FAL, then thought, “Why not?”

I spent an hour or so re-arranging them on the design wall, cut some Kona Snow, and starting piecing.

Pairs of joined blocks thrown back on the design wall. I don’t know what I would do without my design wall, and yet it took me so long to cotton on to it.

The quilt will be square, approximately ten by ten blocks, each block 4 inches finished. Hopefully big enough for a cot or baby quilt. Would you call this unisex, or for a girl only? My daughter and I are of differing opinions over this. I tend towards a girl, given all the flowers. Opinions are welcome.

Today I am off to the final get together at my LQS. After 17 years, the owner is closing the doors. All the best for the future, Katherine.

Linking up with Oh Scrap! And Scraptastic Tuesday.

2016 Quilty Finishes

2016 button 250 best

After a little enforced break from blogging, I thought I’d better get organised and review my pile of “work” for the year ahead.

I expected to spend quite a bit of the New Year quilting, but The Hubbie is building me a deck outside my quilt room, so the noise level hasn’t been conducive to quilting. I’d like to say I have invested my time constructively  over the enforced break, but I seem to remember doing not much more than eating too much, reading books and blogs, and of course spending time with kids and parents.

My list for 2016 is actually quite long. I thought I had gotten ahead a bit, finishing off 5 quilts in time to be gifted for Christmas, but the following list assures me I spend a lot more time coming up with projects, than actually finishing them.

  1. My Small World Quilt.
    The final section awaits dresden plates, hexes and more. Then it will be time to join it all together.

    This quilt is nearly pieced, with the final fiddlier bits almost ready to attach. Then I plan to hand quilt and bind using the “backing used as binding” method, since it is a wall quilt after all.

  2. Midnight at the Oasis Quilt.
    The centre medallion is finished, then most of the orange peel blocks. Lots to go, here.

    This quilt is hardly started, and I expect it to take most of the year.

  3. Gypsy Wife #2.
    Flimsy finished, and now curing in the cupboard.

    I finished the top of the quilt in December 2015, but used up all my batting in the rush to create quilts for Christmas. I am awaiting a sale at Spotlight, so I can buy another big bale of batting. My plan is to hand quilt this one too, lots of Perle 8 and big hand stitching.

  4. Pansy Riot #2.
    Two of the many remaining blocks from the Pansy Riot/Monstrosity quilt.

    This quilt consists of a pile of extra framed squares, from the 28 different pansy fabrics I accumulated. I still have no idea what to do with them, but want them out, and finished. This one will probably end up either at my MIL’s, since she loved the Pansy Riot quit, or will be a charity quilt.

  5. String Quilt.
    More strings and scraps to sort through for the quilt.

    I cut up heaps of blue and brown strings to make a string quilt for one of my brothers, and there it has remained. This is the year, and since his birthday is in July, I should have time.

  6. Baby quilt #1.
    4.5 inch leftover blocks from Gypsy Wife #1. I was going to use them to increase the size of the quilt, but changed my mind. There are enough for a baby quilt, with some scraps added.

    Three of my neighbours having babies mid-year, so baby quilts will be focus this year.

  7. Tinkerbell Quilt.
    This block was created by my Daughter, but I rescued it from being recycled.

    I have an idea for this block involving lots of wonky starts. Not much more than an idea at this stage though.

  8. The Mustang Quilt.
    The Hubbies lap quilt, a Mustang of course!

    I bought this fabric for The Hubbie for Christmas, and need to have it made up in time to keep him warm while reclining in front of the tv. NZ houses are notoriously cold, due to our lack of decent insulation, double glazing etc. I just need a little more Mustang fabric, since the panel isn’t quite big enough to cover his knees and a cat.

  9. 15  Minutes of Play Quilt.
    I have a pile of these, made from scraps from the Arts Recycling Centre.

    I don’t have much of a vision for this quilt yet, but am thinking of using them as a background for some dresden flowers. Super scrappy!

  10. Almost there….The Lords Prayer Quilt.
    I picked up this panel from a secondhand shop in Foxton, Manawatu. It was in a frame, but I left with just the panel.

    I want to make the panel into a food cover, or something to throw on a coffee table. Just waiting for inspiration to strike. I have this one in mind for the in-laws for next Christmas, or my MIL’s birthday in August.

  11. Christmas pillowcases. No photo of these, since I cannot remember where I put the fabric. But my plan is to make one a month for the nieces and nephews to avoid the chaotic rush I experienced last Christmas.

So, that’s the list. Eleven quilt projects planned for the year. It seems very optimistic, but, it’s a good starting point.

P.S. Oops, I forgot one….

Last, but not least, my 1930’s Farmers Wife Quilt.P1070694

I got about six blocks into the quilt, then sort of lost my mojo for the project. My plan is to add a few 6 inch blocks, then finish it as a baby quilt.