Friday, 29 January 2016

fun fables ~ Priscilla

Along with Dolly I finished one more block for my Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew-along quilt this week and because it had bigger pieces I decided to do English Paper Piecing.

#86 Priscilla Fabric was an easy pick for this block and I enjoyed the letter! The way she stopped her younger brothers protesting about helping do dishes by telling stories "so exciting that dishwashing became a pleasure". I chose the dotty grey for the boring task of washing dishes and the Fibs and Fables print because it so beautifully represents a fairytale theme. 

I taught a beginner's patchwork class today and had such a wonderful time. The ladies were all so creative and enthusiastic. They made some beautiful blocks and really inspired me! As much as I am enjoying all the hand sewing I have been doing recently I am now itching to get back to my sewing machine. Hopefully I will find some time this weekend!

Linking up to finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

homemade amusements ~ Dolly

Aren't you glad this was the only block for the Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew-along this week? It is a beautiful block though and worth the time to match up all those points and corners. I hand pieced this block and want to share some tips to make it easier and go together a little more quickly!

Once all the pieces are cut I always lay out my block, this helps me make sure I am sewing the right pieces and for blocks with lots of pieces it means I can work out the best construction. There are four identical segments of this block with 11 triangles in each. I laid these out:

The block assembly in the book seems to suggest making half square triangles and sewing these together but I would rather not stop and start so much. I did split the triangles into the same two rows and then sewed each row without stopping as indicated by the arrows in the pictures below.

For the longer row there is a seam that you need to sew and then stitch back over, so that you travel back to the corner and continue sewing. You can see this seam where there are two arrows below.

I then sewed the short row to the large navy triangle, followed by the longer row - as shown in the block assembly in the book. To attach the two other triangles I again sewed continuously, following the arrows below to attach them to the previously completed piece of the block.

The middle part of the block is a simple nine patch but making sure you centre the points of the adjoining triangles is not so simple! I tried by folding the nine patch in quarters and marking the centre of the middle outer squares in the seam allowance. As you sew the block together you can align the point of the triangle with the pen mark on the seam of the square:

#28 Dolly Sometimes it takes travelling the hard road to make you realise the importance and "quality of quiet living". Those simple pleasures of "old-fashioned Sunday dinners, neighborhood dances, and card parties". I chose the Macrame print because it reminds me of the plant holders my parents had around the kitchen when I was growing up. The metallic gold/navy print represents the "easy road" while the brown stands for the time they "scrimped and saved".

Get the book for this gorgeous block and many more...

The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Complete Quilter

Having already enjoyed Jessica Alexandrakis' first book Quilting On The Go!, I knew that The Complete Quilter would be just as brilliant. It is a thorough guide to quilting, packed full of how to's and really useful tips and tricks. While it is a perfect book for beginners it is also fabulous for anyone wanting to try a different style of patchwork. 

The book contains so many techniques, which Jess demonstrates in a variety of quilt blocks that culminate in this clever sampler quilt.

There are easy to follow guides and it's so informative, covering everything you need to know about patchwork and quilting. What I really love though are all Jess' handy tips and the advice she offers from her unique approach and experience.

She also gives tutorials for some really nice projects and all throughout the book offers amazing inspiration and ideas!

Looking through the book I was inspired to make a row for Sheila for our quilt bee, Bee A Brit Stingy. I chose to make four Economy Block Variation blocks and I am super pleased with the neat points!

The Complete Quilter would make a great gift for someone interested in or new to patchwork and quilting and also as a great reference for anyone excited by interesting quilt blocks and designs.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

gleaming ⌒°(ᴖ◡ᴖ)°⌒ Ina Kent bag

I bought this treasure after a long search for a new bag. Always on the quest for that perfect bag, the right size, zip closure, not heavy, simple design but something a bit different. This one ticks all the boxes for me and it looks extraordinary. I got the AD LIB4 by Ina Kent in Metallic/Taupe on sale from Place - the owner Juliana was super nice and quickly answered some specific questions I had before I bought it. It arrived quickly and was lovingly packaged. I might have gasped... look at that beautiful metallic leather!

I tend to carry quite a lot of stuff but don't always need it all and sometimes want a smaller bag. This bag is amazing and has been cleverly designed to be totally adaptable - a clutch, an over the shoulder, a backpack; you can wear it full size, slouched, slightly folded and folded in half; you can easily adjust the length of the straps to suit. There's an easy to follow video that shows you how!

The leather feels so soft and is fabulous quality. The shoulder strap is really comfortable, even when the bag is stuffed full, and the hardware feels sturdy. This is the kind of bag that will get even better with age and I'm in love! Bonus that it is made in Europe.

This week I picked up a Kaffe Fassett print from Patchfinders, the funny thing about working in a fabric shop is you sometimes can't see the trees for the wood. We stock so many fabrics and occasionally a customer will chose a fabric that I overlooked or didn't like before! This Freckles print was one of those and I had to get some, I have fallen for the pattern and the fun colours. These pictures don't do it justice, it was impossible to get the colours right - the background is really much more green. It's kind of wild!

Molli Sparkles

Friday, 22 January 2016

Delightful ~ Ava and Daffodil

I finished a couple more hand pieced blocks for my Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew-along quilt and they are possibly my favourite ones so far.

#10 Ava I chose the dandelion fabric for the wish for a child and the wish for a sister. The colour of the Blueberry Park print and the sweet little Liberty roses seemed perfect to evoke the love for the two adopted girls and the "bliss of having babies to cuddle". This block feels so 'me' - the colours, the sentiment, the traditional and modern. I really feel love when I look at it, maybe because I thought about my own two girls as I sewed.

The neat back on this one makes me happy too.

#26 Daffodil I've seen some comments in the facebook group about people having difficulty and/or not liking this block. It wasn't the easiest to sew, I think the shapes felt very awkward and (possibly because I traced the templates late at night) my pieces didn't seem to fit perfectly. I'm still happy with the final result and the letter made me like it even more. 
I'm a romantic and I love just being with my husband, I have had many such "a jaunt" with him and it is spending care free time together that makes the everyday chores and responsibilities easier. My good friend gave me a lovely card with a nest that I framed and I do think about our house as a "love nest".
I didn't want to veer away from the natural colours of a daffodil but also didn't want to pick a bright yellow that wouldn't work with the other blocks. The brightness of the leaf/stem print adds a touch of fun, like the "child's delight" of the couple in the letter. I picked a soft, romantic background. I like the overall feel of this block.

On to the next ones.

Have a lovely weekend!

Linking up to finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

good stuff

I've had a busy start to the week. I finished and sent off a couple of projects for publication. There was some hand stitching involved and I am really pleased with the results, you'll have to wait until I can share them with you but here's me in progress:

It is definitely a chilly winter now so Lois got comfy and decided she was camping on our living room floor. Makes me proud to be a quilter to see my little one surrounded by handmade things! There was a twinge of sadness this evening as it is her last day of being two. It's a cliché but they really do grow so fast.

Last week was my birthday (and three years ago I was crossing my legs hoping not to share it with Lois!) and I had some lovely gifts. My husband got me these beautiful hand embroidered pins from Macon & Lesquoy and my sister got me some Minnetonka boots - I wore a hole in my moccasins ages ago and they are so comfortable I'm glad to finally have a new pair!

I am still trying to catch up on the Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew-along and have a Bee A Brit Stingy row to complete so that's my focus for the rest of the week.

Tell me if you've had any good stuff happen this week or what your focus is...

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, 15 January 2016

a group of ladies ~ Aimee, Nancy, Jewel, Patience, Patricia and Grandma

It seems I'm far better at making these blocks than blogging about them! I'm currently about 10 blocks behind the Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew-along and fear that gap will probably increase. I'm plodding along and hand sewing the blocks, enjoying every slow minute! Most of these were hand pieced and a couple were English Paper Pieced.

#2 Aimee The letter by Bookworm refers to "a round blue jar" on the bookcase, which she collected money in to save up and buy books. The blue and navy fabric is for the jar, the brown for the pennies and the Playing Pop print is going to pass for books on a shelf! I have always been a bookworm - as a child I read late into the night under the duvet with a torch and I recently joined my first book club. I agree there is nothing quite like bring able to "escape for a few minutes into a make-believe world where [my] spirit may be eased".

#76 Nancy (English Paper Pieced) Another bookish letter, this time I used a sweet print with capital letters on it and the pink/gold print reminds me that books can be "a treasured possession".

#46 Jewel (English Paper Pieced) I loved this letter! I chose the Liberty flower print and the soft polka dots to represent the humbleness the farmer's wife feels and her realisation that she needs to listen more.

(skipping #90 Sara for now - I might go back and do it if I decide I have to do them all!)

#79 Patience This was a "down" letter. I went with the muddy colour for the work and the (lack of) money, and the blue for the hauling of water. There is also hope in the block though, the strong blue running across the middle, standing strong. "I am down, and down bad. But I'm not out even yet".

#80 Patricia Hilarious! I think all mothers know how important it is that we get rest, especially when you have babies and very little children. I could never nap when mine were small but eventually I realised that just sitting and doing nothing was as good as and helped keep me "fresh and strong"! I chose the starry print for sleep and the low volume print to symbolise the peace that results. "There could not be not'ing happen dose children worse dan I not get my von little naps".

#39 Grandma It feels like there is lots of movement in this block, spinning and jagged. The "ups and downs" of family life, the children "fly[ing] away"  and the need for "bravery and brightness". Gingham always feels homely to me and I mixed it with a dark, busy print and a swirling print to capture the reflections of the letter.

Have a happy weekend everyone!

Linking up to finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts

Thursday, 14 January 2016

focus ~ FAL Q1 2016

Like many quilters I have lots of projects on the go but rather than list them all in the hopes of finishing them I'm going to narrow it down to keep it realistic and stay motivated!

Here's my Finish-A-Long list for Quarter one:

1, 2 and 3. The three #therearenowords quilts. One for Nat and her family, two for the grandparents. These are in various stages of near completion and will be handed over to Nat in February, after which I will share them here.

4. A magazine commission with an impending deadline - here's a sneak peek:

5. It's all basted (has been for a while) and I am going to hand quilt it with perle - I had a quilting plan but have since forgotten it so I need to have a look again and come up with something!

6. A commission for a embroidered name cushion. I have picked out some fabric choices but haven't fully decided so here's a picture of one in progress that I made a while ago:

I would like to check all this off at the end of the quarter and approach them all with great enthusiasm! I keep a copy of this list in my planner so I can refer to it and remind myself of what I said I'd complete.

Have you done your list?

2016 FAL

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

bling and an organised iphone

I am probably about 10 years too late but have decided to inject a little bling into our lives. Pink, girly things bring me joy and I bought a very cheap iphone cover (I like the flip cases that actually stop my screen getting scratched when I chuck it in my bag). It had a random logo on it I didn't like so I picked it off and then needed something to cover the damage. I found Candy Crystal and ordered glittery bows!

Problem solved! I also ordered my girls some hair clips that I glued cute little lollies and bows to, it was a fun quick project and a nice way to make something unique!

I came across a useful blog post by Jones Design Company for organising your iphone. I was often overwhelmed seeing all those icons on my screen and scrolling through to find the one I needed - this makes everything more streamlined and my phone is less stressful to look at! 
I have been using it this way for a few days and I love it, I know where everything is, the files I rarely use are on the next screen rather than my home screen so it's even less cluttered. Love it!

Yesterday was my birthday, I had a lovely time with family and a nice chilled out day. I even managed to finish this block I was working on for my 1930's Farmer's Wife quilt. I will do a catch up post on my blocks soon!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced      Live A Colorful Life