Saturday, 23 August 2014

What I'm working on

I've been working with pastels for my last few quilts.  I don't know why, maybe it's because it is so darn cold here I have been needing some sunshine, even if only in fabric.  While I was pulling fabric for the mystery quilt I showed you on the last post, I realised I had many, many scraps of pastels still left over.  

Let's face it, my scraps are hideously out of control.  I was all self righteous because they were sorted into colour and then scraps or pieces. But having looked at it all I realise I have Too Many Scraps.

So I pulled a few more the other day and started another darn quilt.




There are many many units there that I will be sewing into four patches to make another quilt on my bucket list - a triple irish chain.

I am trying hard to make all the units so I won't get horribly confused and lose count but I couldn't resist making at least a couple of big blocks to see how they look.  I hope it will turn out okay, each of those squares finishes at one inch so I may be ever so slightly mental.

I have family visiting today who are about to take my girls out for the morning so I'm going to be head down, bum up in the sewing room for a few hours fingers crossed.

See you on the other side.

Suzie

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Another flimsy….Mystery Quilt

A few days ago I mentioned that I was making a quilt top through our quilt group.  One of our members designed it.  I’m pleased to say that I have finished the top!

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Tadah!

It’s not even slightly like the original.  I got the instructions wrong on certain blocks, I didn’t have enough border fabric to do it the way that she did, and so it’s a mashup of a few different things.

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It’s always risky when doing a mystery quilt.  I’ve had some spectacular failures, and some spectacular successes and there’s no way of knowing which one it is going to turn out like.  I think it’s all down to trusting your designer.

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These are little flower blocks. 

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And these are perfectly turned, little leaf blocks.

Am so very clever.  Didn’t know how to do proper applique and despite all my methods never working, I thought ‘What the hey, I’ll try another method’.  I’d seen hugs and kisses use a method and I thought ‘I’ll try that’..and this is the result.

Do you know the meaning of the word serendipity?  It’s one of my favourite words.  It means "fortunate happenstance" or "pleasant surprise" according to wikipedia and it happened to me just then.  When I went to find the link, buried deep within the Hugs And Kisses website to the mention she made of her applique paper, it was right there at the very top post, like she’d written it for me. 

So go here: http://hugsnkisses.typepad.com/hugsfromhelen/2014/08/video-tutorials.html and see how easy it is!  And the paper is cheap enough too.

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So I’m not altogether displeased with this quilt, though it’s not really my style.  But I learned how to do perfect (kinda) applique so that’s an excellent thing.

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I wish I could say that my camera didn’t photograph the colours well and it’s all a little washed out but sadly, that is how it looks in real life. 

Wishy washy.

Never mind, I had fun making it!

Till tomorrow,

Suzie

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Sunday Update

I’ve only ever lived in a small town, so I don’t know how things work in the city.  But when you live in the country, every small niggle seems to pass through out the town and one by one we are all afflicted with it at some point.

It’s been our turn- our whole house has been struck with a very annoying virus and it’s not been much fun.  By all accounts most of the town has had it this winter.

But it’s a lovely day outside, it rained all day yesterday which we needed, and life is looking up!

Some more show and tell.

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I made these little dolls years ago.  Each doll is about four inches tall.

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I made them once. I won’t do it again.  I learnt very quickly that smaller is not quicker.  Smaller is most definitely not easier.  Smaller is HARD.

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I do love them very much, I think they are super cute.  But most definitely a one off!

Till tomorrow,

Suzie

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Beeatrice

Another one of the favourite designs from Sparkles and Spirit was Bee-atrice.

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She’s a bee. Obviously.

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I used to love making these kits up for customers.  They had a thousand different little charms, buttons, laces.  I loved gathering them all together and making little people (or bees) out of them.

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Her wings were electrical wire. 

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If you’re into dolls, I thoroughly recommend the Sparkles and Spirit brand.  Her designs are not complicated at all, as long as you do each step as she does it.  No racing ahead!

Life has been stupidly busy around my little house.  I don’t know why – maybe I take too much on. I suspect though it’s because life is just going to get busier as my girls get older.  They want to do more, be out more, be involved more. It’s a hard juggle for me as a mother.  I see other kids who have things on after school every night, and I just think for us it would be too much. They get too tired.  But I also want them to be involved in life outside of school.  Big time juggle.

In other news, my mother is off on a six week jaunt around Europe today.  I don’t think I remember the last time she was gone for six weeks.  I’m lucky enough to have a close friendship with my mum and whilst I’m thrilled she’s off having adventures, I’m going to miss her!

It’s been stupidly cold here in our little town.  I live in a stone fruit area (peaches, apricots etc).  We need a run of cold weather to ‘set the fruit’ but we have had frosts most days for nearly a month now.  It’s FREEZING!  Whilst it bodes well for a good fruit season this year, it’s been hard work for me shivering inside my cold house.  Freezing.  Quite literally.  I don’t know how you Northern girls go, with snow and sleet and hail.  Sadly, we’ve lost quite a few of our shrubs with the frost.  Poor little garden, most of it got fried in the summer weather, what was left is getting nuked by the cold!

As far as quilting goes, I’ve been trying hard to finish stuff.  Our quilting guild had a mystery quilt over the past few months and I’ve been trying to finish that up.  Hopefully today, so I’ll post that tomorrow.  It’s one of those ‘out of my comfort zone’ quilts.  The only mysteries I know I’ll adore are Bonnies.  All the other mysteries are a risk to me. 

But I have enough fabric so it’s no great loss if I hate these mystery quilts.  I certainly don’t hate this current one –but I’ll sure own up to the fact that it’s out of my comfort zone!

That’s my update for today. I really hope you’re doing well.

Happy Quilting!

Suzie

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Not just a quiltmaker….

When we were in the shop, a lot of our sales came from dolls.  People LOVED dolls.  The best way to sell a doll pattern was to make one of the designs up, and so I spent a lot of my time making teeny clothes, turning through arms and legs, stuffing bodies. 

A lot of the patterns were hard as hard to follow, but one designer who always seemed to have her instructions crystal clear was Sparkles And Spirit designs. I made many, many of her dolls.

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All consisted mainly of wooden legs and feet shapes, plus a wooden insert in the middle to help make them stand up.

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It was such a sunny day when I took these photos – clearly I should have waited a little for it to be not quite so sunny!

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I took these little guys outside in the front garden.  I struggled a lot to find a nice place to shoot the photos but I think this placement worked really well.

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The attention to detail is what really catches my attention on these dolls.  She makes a range of fairy dolls, and they all have handcrafted felt shoes.  It took me four hours to make one hand stitched felt shoe – I felt like a shoemaker from one hundred years ago!

Once I had made one shoe, the rest weren’t quite so difficult. 

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Every well dressed lady bunny needs a mate, don’t you think?

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Ooops – he’s just about to fall over…..

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I’ve a few of these designs half done in the UFO cupboard – perhaps it’s about time to get them out again!

I haven’t made a doll in years.  I’m not sure if the crafty world has moved on from dolls or if it is just me – they don’t seem to be around much anymore.  Perhaps I am sick of dolls because my girls seem to have such a lot of them everywhere, as little girls seem to do.  Still, these ones are very sweet.

Till tomorrow,

Suzie

Monday, 4 August 2014

What Do You Suppose?

A little bit more of show and tell from the vaults for you.

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This is one of my designs, requested for Australian magazine ‘Homespun’.  I was asked to design a small wall hanging, and this is what I came up with.

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Some days the designs just flow really easily.  This was an easy one both to design and make.  I loved the flowers hanging over his head – they looked good to me.

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No sooner had I designed this wall hanging the bee buttons became unavailable.  That was life in the shop – trying to make designs different, but generic enough to be able to be substituted if the design took off.  Companies are always discontinuing fabrics, buttons, colours – it sure made life interesting when we tried to make quilts.

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I tended to follow a bit of a formula with my wall hangings – bit of applique, bit of stitchery, bit of sewing – all easy enough for a beginner.

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I made a matching rabbit wall hanging too – I’ll try and dig it up so I can show you that as well.

Hope you had a quilting weekend!

Suzie

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Scrappy Trip Around The World–A Flimsy at last!

Would you believe this quilt has languished in a bag for probably eighteen months and all I had to do was stitch the rows into one big quilt? Story of my life, that.

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This is another one of Bonnie’s quilts, and while I was making it I’ll admit I wasn’t really feeling the love.

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But now I see it from afar, I love it to pieces.  See what I did there?  Pieces?  Quilting?  Get it?

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It’ll probably remain a flimsy for ages, but it’s better than nine big blocks languishing lazily in a bag waiting for me to get my act together.

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These happy prints never fail to make my spirits rise. 

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So there we are.  Another flimsy bites the dust. 

Till tomorrow,

Suzie

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Show And Tell–Wash Day

One of the first Australian quilting magazines was Australian Patchwork and Quilting.  For the longest time I brought every issue that came out.  I don't buy magazines any more, I have so many that I can't fit them on the five shelf bookshelf I specifically brought for that purpose.  

I made quite a few out of those magazines, including this one by an Australian designer called Tita Leach.

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Tita Leach was (is?) an Australian quilt designer who seemed to specialise in the country style of quilts and wall hangings.   Much like The Chook Shed ladies, her designs were cute and whimsical and often included three dimensional aspects, like the quilts here hanging on the line.

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I was heavily into the country style of quilting when I was younger.  It's so far from where I am now that I haven't made this sort of thing for years, but I did love it back in the olden days.

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I'm not sure if she still designs patterns, I've looked for a webpage or a blog but I can't find one.  I find it hard to remember not all of us are so hooked up to the internet.

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This is very, very obviously one of my earliest quilts, so don't look too quickly at my finishing off.

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That red around the border of the heart quilt - hands down my most favourite fabric in the whole world.  Even back then, the reproduction fabrics were calling out to me.

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Quite a dinky little butterfly button on this one.

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These sunflowers were actually quite difficult to make, the threads kept raveling from the wadding inside the flowers making it look quite messy.

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And tadah! The finished quilt.  I've a feeling I have forgotten to stitch some birds on the tree stumps - I vaguely recall that there were some on there.  But I'm going to call this one done.

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I reckon I made this at least fifteen years ago, probably longer than that.  It's nice to actually have her up on the wall, getting a bit of an airing - even if only for a short time while I photograph it.

And that's all for now, hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane.

Happy Quilting!

Suzie