Thursday, 29 March 2012

Not starchy enough?

I have been slow to start my mini-quilt for our AMQG challenge. I see Jacqui and Karyn have finished theirs (way before April 10)! Still trawling around for ideas I found some orphan blocks in my wardrobe - unpicked one seam, stitched another, and hey presto!
I feel like I have cheated, so if I have time I will intentionally make another for the challenge, but in the meantime I have a back-up plan. Yay.

On another note entirely, and directed at any kiwi readers - I have had a bit of trouble with my NYB blocks stretching and notice some people are advocating the use of starch spray. I toddled off to the supermarket to get some...not a successful outcome! Have we thrown off the shackles of our colonial past to the extent we no longer starch??? Or is starch a specialist product? Not even trusty google could help me. Any ideas fellow non-starchy kiwis?
Linking up at:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

A finished quilt top

I started this last year - it might have been the third quilt I tried to make. When I look at it now, I still really like the fabric, but there are some things I would do differently. I remember that I had seen a photo somewhere on the web that I based the design on, but I was so new to the world of blogs I had no idea where it was to go back to.

The photo was actually this one from Film in the Fridge, and had I been able to find my way back to it at the time, I could have used the tutorial. It will sit in the cupboard now until school holidays by which time I might have decided what to do about quilting (read, I'm praying for the appearance of a quilting fairy).

Linking up to Sew Modern Monday!

I also got tagged by the lovely Debbie at A Quilters Table. I'm not going to tag anyone else because I think most blogs I read have been tagged. However, if anyone wants to know a little more about me, my answers to Debbie's questions are below:

1. What is your favorite color to use in quilting? I love colour full stop, but probably blues and greens.
2. Where would you like to visit in the U.S. that you've never been before? I've only been to Chicago (loved it) Nashville (great fun) and New Orleans (so pretty) - I'd love to travel all over the states.
3. How old is the car you drive most? Um, I think about 10 years old.
4. What's the last movie you saw and would you recommend it? The last movie I saw was The Descendants which I found surprisingly good.
5. What makes a day great? A strong latte in the morning and belly laughing with friends or family.
6. What is your favorite snack? Fish and chips - does that even count as a snack? I'm such a Kiwi, I should have said carrot sticks in case my mum is reading.
7. Besides quilting, do you have other hobbies? A bit of tramping, a lot of reading. My PhD is taking up most of my time at the moment.
8. What is your least favorite household chore? Grocery shopping. Loathe it.
9. Where would you live if you could? I love living here in Auckland, but I also fancy Glasgow and London.
10. What is your favorite quilt you've made? I like most of the (few) quilts I have made, but I don't think I've made a favourite yet.
11. What's your "wake up" beverage of choice? Definitely coffee. Luckily New Zealand is a nation of coffee roasters and independent cafes, I think we have some of the best coffee in the world. 

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Back to the drawing board

I spent some of today finishing up a UFO - and I use finishing up in a loose sense, meaning I finished piecing the top which has been sitting around half made since last year. I'll try and get a photo tomorrow when its not a howling gale - I had visions of it whipping up up and away over the hedge and out to sea if I tried taking it outside today. I also spent some time looking at this block I made. Our most recent Auckland Modern Quilt Guild challenge is to make a baby quilt to donate to the neo-natal unit at Auckland Hospital. I was all excited about this idea, but I've gone right off it. I want to make something more exuberant. So it's back to the drawing board.

Yesterday I picked up a book I ordered from the library:

It looks quite good on first glance, I'm going to study it in more detail this evening.

This picture made me laugh because it instantly brought back memories of childhood piano lessons. I hope my FMQ can be better than my piano playing was. I was not destined to be a concert pianist and no amount of good posture was going to change that!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Done and dusted

Well, not exactly dusted. But in the washing machine as I type this. I'm really hoping that the torrential rain has passed - I don't have a drier because I much prefer to line dry everything. I can hang this in the carport if the weather doesn't pick up but I'd love some sun rays to get caught up in this quilt before it heads to its new home.

 Yay, Friday tomorrow!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Quilting underway!

When I saw Karyn yesterday her square spiral quilting popped into my head as an idea for quilting my baby quilt. I came straight  home after school today and sat down at my machine and only then remembered that she is a hand quilter! Fortunately the quilt was small enough to manage because pivoting and fabric bulk had not occurred to me until that moment. I think it looks ok - for once my wonky straight lines will come into their own - I want the quilting to soften the overall look so I don't want hard perfect lines (in my dreams that mine would ever be described that way!)

Sunday, 18 March 2012

A productive weekend

I take my hat off to the people who are doing the NYB QAL and are making 4 of each of the blocks. I'm not sure how many hours I spent cutting (and cussing) this afternoon to produce 1 block! 1 per week is definitely my upper limit. It needs a good trim but I'm reluctant to do that until all my blocks are made when I suspect I will have to choose the best 'average' size. This one is just a wee bit under the 8.5" it is supposed to be.

I had time to do this today because I finished my baby quilt top faster than I expected and I didn't have batting or backing - I need to buy some tomorrow. I also need to find some great fabric to bind it, I think my ambivalence about this quilt is due to the fact that it looks quite pale because there is so much white.

I had to buy this today:

...on account of Coco being pretty keen to do a lot of this lately... yes, even as I'm sewing!

I'm so sure I saw a flea today, although I might be just a tad bit paranoid about fleas. To celebrate a pretty productive weekend on the sewing front I went to the Craft and Sewing fair here in Auckland and bought a lovely little bundle of shot cottons - it would just be too tragic to go a craft fair and not buy anything!

Hope everyone has had a happy weekend.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Cathedral window pincushion

I'm not sure I'm in love with the baby quilt I'm working on - just really hoping that when it all goes together it will look good - what is that old saying 'children and fools should not see something half done'? I quite often get a bit dismayed in the 'half done' phase and the grey that has begun to appear in my hair suggests I'm not a child....

I distracted myself with a small cathedral window project. Ever since seeing Jacqui's fantastic cushion I have been tempted to try the technique. Kim has a great tutorial over at My Go-Go Life for pincushions. It was fun, but tricky in the centre - thank goodness for buttons is all I can say!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Tempus fugit (time flies)

Do you ever float around with a great idea for a quilt, look at the calendar then realise there are a number of restraints to your planned magnus opus (because of course each new quilt starts out as one of these)? Very much my experience this weekend!
1. Time - yep looked at the calendar on Saturday morning and realised the baby shower that this quilt needs to make an appearance at is 2 weeks away, and I'm going to be away next weekend. Time to get your A into G Megan.
2. Fabric - realised, after a bit of sleuthing, that design A was going to be too 'out there' for the  recipients. Design B is going to be a challenge as I don't quite have enough fabric to achieve my grand vision. The vision is now simply a completed quilt.

Anyhoo, as necessity is the mother of all invention, I boxed on. I have gone with wonky stars which I think are great for baby quilts.

This fabric is Hideaway by Moda. I love the little clocks and the deer also. I have decapitated some. Oops.

My brother loves clocks and watches. The quilt is for his first baby. I can't imagine him spending a lot of time looking at the detail in this quilt, but I'm happy that the little clocks are there. I had one charm pack of this fabric which yielded 9 stars but the quilt is a bit small so I gave in to my urge to be frugal and started making little stars from the offcuts for a border.

They take a while to make those little stars - the block is 3" finished so quite fiddly. I'm still trying to decide how many I need to make (sort of wishing 3 could be enough). Its a very grey day here today so these photos look very grey also, but I'm determined this quilt will be a pretty thing when its done! I hope everyone is having a happy weekend.

Friday, 9 March 2012

New York Beauty Block 0

Here is my first NYB block. Click on the link in my sidebar if you want to find out more about the QAL. I plan to make one of each block and hopefully at the end they will go together as a little sampler-type wall hanging.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Modern Mini Quilt contest entry

Modern Mini Challenge

I'm entering my wonky houses quilt in the Modern Mini Quilt contest. Gulp! I didn't make this quilt with a contest in mind, but just decided now after a little prompt from Nicole (thanks Nicole) to enter. The quilt is approximately 15''x20''.

Monday, 5 March 2012

February NICU quilt

Ok - I'm not doing so well with my self-imposed deadlines. Still, better late than never. Here is my February NICU quilt. Our latest Auckland Modern Quilt Guild challenge is to make one of these using a design or block we haven't used before. I figured since I had actually started this one before the challenge was announced I probably shouldn't enter this one. This is one of Faith's solstice stars - Ribbon Star.

I'm linking up at Little Quilt Monday over at Pieceful life.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Not so pretty

It's tempting not to post about this block, but I did decide when I started this blog to include everything - the good, the bad and the ugly! Several of us who are members of the Auckland Modern Quilt Guild decided to follow along with the block of the month designed by Alissa Haight Carlton on Sew, Mama, Sew. I have missed a few - I just didn't like the look of them. Here is February's - it had a number of partial seams which weren't so bad in themselves, but I would definitely do a few things differently if I made it again. What makes this block not so pretty is that I didn't have enough white at home with me, so its on a patterned background - yikes, a bit of an eyeful!

Have you ever pressed and pressed and the fabric just won't behave? Exhibit A above. I think I have enough fabric to do one more block so I will have six in total, but I can't see myself ever putting them together. It has been a good stretch though - I have found these blocks quite technically challenging.

Friday, 2 March 2012

How it all began...

I'm linking up today over at Lily's Quilts!
Lily's Quilts

Today I am thinking about how it all began...
('It' being the quilting craze)

Around this time last year, I was looking for some fabric to finish off a stitching project. I had a feeling that a patchwork fabric shop might have just the thing I was looking for. I went into a lovely shop... and in less than 10 minutes had found the perfect fabric, fallen in love with the idea of quilting and signed up to a beginner's class. Impulsive? Who me?