Monday, 30 May 2016

Green ....

May always amazes me with its lushness and all these greens were snapped on an after dinner walk the other day.  The sheer variety of colour in nature astounds me so I thought I would share them here! 

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Brave Quilter - May challenge

At the beginning of May I signed up for the first time to #bravequilter over at Pink  Doxies.  My challenge was:
my goal is to try making a block using curved piecing, with my Quick Curve Ruler
It's taken until the second to last day of the month but I have completed my challenge!!!  Drumroll please ....
I watched the videos on Sew Kind of Wonderful's site, over here, found my QCR lurking under a huge pile of fabric and set to.  It worked, it was so easy, I sewed a curve and without pins!!!!  Can you tell I am rather excited?

To ensure it wasn't a fluke, I made a second ....
Then I got all ahead of myself and started piecing more curves together ....

I'm not a big buyer of rulers and gadgets but, after seeing what you could do with a Quick Curve Ruler on the web, I decided to purchase one.  I bought the ruler last November and was so excited to unpack it but then it got put on the shelf, covered with other things and time marched on.  Why do some things take so long to try?  I love the look of all of the quilts I have seen made with the QCR and am so happy that it worked just like promised.

Due to the fact that I signed up to #bravequilter I knew I would retrieve the ruler and try it out this month.  With that in mind I treated myself to a book at Quilts UK the other week and am now even more excited about diving into one of these projects.

Is there any one ruler you would recommend or can't live without?  I would love to know. x

Friday, 27 May 2016

ANZAC Hearts - another finish!

So there have been a few finishes around these parts of late.  This is the last post about the quilts I finished for the Show recently.  Not only is it a finish in itself, which qualifies it for a link up to Finish it up Friday, it also ticks another project of my 2016FAL list AND it was my oldest WIP (and subsequently contained a lot of emotion!!!)
Progress posts can be found here, here and here - all from when I was blogging as Little Grubs!
Started:  March 2010
I had recently learnt to quilt and joined my first quilting bee via Flickr.  I liked hearts and I liked the fabric so I sent out a bundle with a request for hearts.  That was it!  I was too new to the game to realise I should have given some specification on block sizes.  It was only when they started to come in I realised how hard it would be for me to put them all together!
Finished:  14 May 2016
This quilt top was finished in August 2010 and then sat on shelves in many houses, both in NZ and the UK!
One of the reasons it took so long to quilt was because I did not know how to quilt it.  I loved the top and did not want to ruin it with my quilting!  When I got my longarm machine last July, I thought this would be the first quilt of mine that I did on it.  But no, I then realised I had so much to learn on my machine that this top still languished on my shelf.  It made my Finish Along list twice before this quarter hoping that would be enough motivation for me to get it done.
Even when it was loaded onto the frame I was not really sure how I was going to quilt it.  Any of your regular readers noticing a theme here?!!  I knew I wanted hearts and feathers but what I did not realise was how many straight lines I would put onto it.  The rulerwork practice I got has certainly improved my skills.  Oh and my burying threads has got real quick too using a spiral eye needled!

This was one of my blocks, made from this pattern by Tallgrass Prairie Studio.

I think this is my favourite quilted block - my feathers flowed on this one!

And finally it was ready to bind.  I still had the time to handstitch this binding, which I actually really like doing.

The wadding used was Warm and Natural by the Warm Company and the backing was pieced using For You by Brigitte Heitland for Zen Chic by Moda and Prints Charming by Sandy Gervais for Moda.
I used Glide threads top and bottom in Coffee, 27504, and Light Turquoise, 32975.

Dimensions:  50" x 70"

I entered this quilt into the Groups Category at Quilts UK, Malvern and was delighted to receive a Judge's Merit ribbon for it.  Of course credit must go to all the members of the Bee for making their blocks.

Luckily six years on I still love it.  I am so please that it is finished and I am really looking forward to being able to use it! x

Thursday, 26 May 2016

2016 New Quilt Bloggers

You may have noticed a few changes in the look and layout of my blog recently and that's due to being part of the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers group.  Back at the end of March I signed up to take part and was really pleased to get a place.  The group started in earnest at the start of May and the idea is to get advice and technical help on all aspects of blogging and also to meet some lovely fellow bloggers.  This year it is being run by Yvonne from Quilting Jet Girl, Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs and Stephanie from Late Night Quilter.
There are a large number of people taking part so I was really pleased when we were assigned Hives - it made the process of reading and commenting on each others' blogs far more manageable.  Our Hive Mama is Cheryl and the first task she assigned the group was to choose a name and design a Hive button.  Without further ado let me introduce you to Miss-Bee Hivin', with the chosen button from Amista.
Kate @ Smiles From Kate
Jennifer @ Inquiring Quilter
Abigail @ Cut & Alter
Jen @ Faith and Fabric
Emily @ The Darling Dogwood
Susan @ Sevenoaks Street Quilts
Heide @ Heide’s Quilty Hugs
Hannah @ unsophisticated+jejune
Ann @ Brown Paws Quilting
Amista @ Hilltop Custom Designs
Jamie @ Small Town Stitchin
Irene @ Patchwork and Pastry
Jen @ Patterns By Jen
Janice @ Color, Creating, and Quilting!
Miranda @ I Have Purple Hair
Lorinda @ Laurel, Poppy and Pine


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - A Finish ....

EDITED:  I can now happily say that this quilt is going to stay home after attending a few shows!  I was very happy to receive Best Piecing in Show at the West Country Quilt and Textile Show in November 2016 and 1st Place in the Wall Hanging Category at the British Quilt & Stitch Village in April 2017.

One of the quilts I finished during my recent quilting marathon was my flag quilt, named Should I Stay or Should I Go?  With the time deadline I was under I was not able to take many photos or do a finish blog post before it was delivered to Malvern to be hung in Quilts UK.
It is now safely home and hanging in my studio and here are all the stats ....
Progress posts can be found here, here, here and here!
Started:  21 March 2016
I began playing with the paper pieced stars for the NZ flag on this date - hoping that the referendum on the flag in New Zealand would result in the current flag remaining
Finished: 16 May 2016
Last stitch was put in the hanging sleeve at 1.30pm - with the quilt needing to be delivered to Malvern between 2pm and 4pm!

Originally I thought each flag was going to be A4 in size and there were going to be two maps, one of UK and one of New Zealand, to make a wall hanging.  Then I made a paper pieced star ..... they were as small as I wanted to go as a novice to paper piecing and so the size was determined by them!
I designed the Union Jack block to have correct dimensions on a 3:5 ratio, which are the dimensions for the flag that is flown on land (the flag flown at sea is a 1:2 ratio).

Each flag block measured 50" by 30" unfinished ....

The blue and red fabric for the flags were nearly all to be found in my stash and range from new quilting fabric to vintage dress fabric and everything in between.  I had to buy a couple of blue fat 1/4s to have enough different fabric.  The white fabric for the stripes is Kona White.
Once the two flags were finished I had to decide how to join them together.  I knew there would have to be a border of some type otherwise the demarcation between the flags would be lost.  I chose a navy blue solid and then played with some designs of coloured stripes until I settled on this ....
I love how this made up and actually see a whole quilt in this design ....
When I loaded it onto my frame I still wasn't quite sure how I was going to quilt it.  I thought I would start with straight lines on the white to stabilise it.  The vertical and horizontal ones were easily done using the channel locks but the diagonal lines took rulerwork.  Let's just say that I am now quite proficient with rulers but it takes far more time than I imagined!  I had a problem with the thread shredding aswell which I haven't experienced before.  I also learnt to speed unpick whilst the quilt was on the frame ....

By the time I had quilted the white stripes and the blue triangles, again with straight lines, I realised how little time I had left.  The red cross was straight lines again but this time they were freehand and organic - a much quicker process.  The red diagonal stripes were quilted with freehand matchstick quilting.

I knew I wanted words in the quilting somewhere and the navy border stripes provided the perfect place.  I really enjoyed using the words and can definitely see them appearing in my quilts again.  Below the Union Jack flag are the words:

United Kingdom  Great Britain  home  wedding  Place of Birth  British  Rowington  wedding  love

On top of the New Zealand flag are the words:
New Zealand  Aotearoa  home  motherhood  Wellington  kiwi  Tauranga  love

I loved writing the words with the quilting - I can see more of this on future quilts!

I mulled over the quilting design of the NZ flag over dinner and realised it had to be something I could do relatively quickly - it had to be off the frame that night!  I went swirly and ended up with koru and fish hook designs.  Initially I thought it might look funny with the straight lines of the Union Jack but actually it works and in a way represents the differences between the two countries!!
The wadding used was Warm and White by the Warm Company and the backing was a blue polka dot I picked up at a show - no name I'm afraid.
I used Glide threads top and bottom in White, 10000, Cobalt, 30647, Tomato, 70179 and Navy, 32965.  I love the way they pick out the design so well on the back ....
The arrows you can see were quilted on the red and blue middle border and represent our many trips back and forth between the two countries both on holidays and for setting up home!!
Linking up to Let's Bee Social over at Sew Fresh Quilts and this is also a finish of my 2016FAL Q2 list.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Quilts UK

Quilts UK ran in Malvern over four days last week and I went along on Saturday and Sunday.  I had a wonderful time looking at all the quilts and visiting some of the traders!
I had entered 4 quilts in the show and was delighted to get a 3rd in the Cot Quilt category, for Say "Cheese!" ....

and a Judge's Merit in the Group Quilt category, for ANZAC Hearts ....

I still have to do a finish post for this quilt - I was so pushed for time before the delivery deadline I only took one photo of the last two quilts I finished.  This was my oldest WIP so I am so happy to have it finished and ready to use!
The other two quilts I entered were Straight Line Bow ....
and my flag quilt, Should I Stay or Should I Go? ....

again a finish post is still to come for this quilt.

It was so exciting to go and see them hanging with all the other quilts.  This is only the second time I have entered a quilt show and I really would recommend it if you are thinking of doing so.  Lots of people told me I was very brave when I entered my first show last year.  I did not think of it as brave but just as something I would like to do.  I certainly have not gone into them with the intention of winning but just to have my work on show and to get me to finish quilts and challenge myself with some new techniques.  Entering four quilts became a rather stressful situation but looking back now I wonder what all the panic was about!  Er the panic was that the last stitch on the last quilt was done the minute my husband returned home to deliver them for me - funny how a few night's sleep changes your perspective!
I took a couple of a hour long workshops over the weekend aswell, both of them with Kate Andre.  On Saturday I did a gelli-plate printing class and on Sunday a thermofax printing class.  I enjoyed the thermofax printing more and can definitely see myself doing it again.  The only problem will be finding someone to make up some screens to my designs ....
Now back to more mundane jobs like tidying and cleaning my studio and catching up on paperwork!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

............. and breathe!

Last week I posted on the predicament I found myself in relating to getting 3 quilts finished in a very short time.  Thank you all so much for your lovely comments and words of encouragement - they really helped.
A week on I am very happy to tell you that I DID IT!!!!!  And just in the nick of time.  I literally had finished sewing the last stitch on the hanging sleeve of my last quilt, pinned the Show organiser's label to it and got the bags ready for the quilts to be packed in when my husband returned to deliver them for me.  He had kindly offered when he saw just how tired I was that morning!  Oh the relief!!! 
In hindsight I think I was crazy for putting myself under that kind of pressure but on the other hand I have three brand new finished quilts.  I may have done things differently on them if I had not had such a tight deadline but then again they may have been sitting as tops for another few months ........ or years!
I posted about Say "Cheese!" over here if you want to read about it.

Second to be finished was my oldest WIP - oh the memories this stirred up ..... It was actually a really emotional journey quilting this one!  Luckily I still love the fabrics and love the finished quilt.  I didn't have time to take lots of photos of ANZAC Hearts so the ta-da post will be next week when it is back from Show.

The last quilt to be quilted and finished was Should I Stay of Should I Go? On this one I was really under serious time pressure.  There are lots of things I would have done differently but in the end I just had to do it.  Yes, there is some stitching I would have taken out and redone if there had been time and yes, the quilting design may have been different but ........ it's done!!  Again there will be a full post about this quilt next week.

Suffice it to say I am exhausted but extremely happy and really rather proud.  I haven't finished three quilts in a year before let alone a week!
So today I am going to be very social and link up over with Lorna and actually head around and see some of the other lovely bloggers!


I am so pleased to announce that my new website has been launched.  It's taken me some time to build and it's not all finished yet b...