30 January 2014

Long Weekend

I had the most wonderful Australia Day weekend - flew up to Brisbane on Friday evening and stayed with Diann, who is the most entertaining friend anyone could have.  Bill the Builder was away working for the weekend so it was just us.  We had such a relaxing time - long lunch with a bunch of friends on Saturday

Helen, me, Sandi, Diann and Teresa - only photo taken all weekend.
and breakfast with Diann's daughter and her family on Sunday morning.  The rest of the time we just talked, hung out, talked, did a bit of stitching

talked, watched some of a BBC series, talked etc.  I had the best time.

I came home to a few roses blooming and there's quite a few buds on this side of the trellis - receives more morning sun than the other side.

My lunchtime stitching is progressing very slowly.

Block 4 - Best Friends Forever

So I started stitching another packet of the blocks while I was away and think I'll continue with these as my tv-watching stitching.  Might even head back into the sewing room tonight - "Goodnight Irene" is calling to me although I should finish off  Floral Bouquet 2.

23 January 2014

Goodnight Irene Sew-Along

My short attention span has struck again.

Something I've been trying to do over the last couple of years is use up a lot of the fabrics in my stash.  Often when a quilt top is finished, it doesn't feel like I've used very much fabric at all.  The first Floral Bouquet in a variety of Fig Tree fabrics is one example and so is "Tone it Down", the APQ Quilt-Along Quilt - even though I used about 77 different Fig Tree fabrics, there's still an awful lot left over.

I've had a pack of Timeless Treasures Pink Lemonade Treat Strips along with backing, binding and border fabric in my cupboard for a couple of years.  While browsing through some blogs the last few days, I came across the Goodnight Irene Sew-Along and thought these blocks would look pretty in Pink Lemonade.  I needed to make a couple of test blocks.

I've never used Batiks and find that although these feel different to the cottons I'm used to working with, they sew up and press beautifully.

Also found out that the blocks go together easier if the seams are pressed open.  Because I want to make quite a large quilt, I will be using the fabric I bought for borders in the "X" blocks - there is just enough fabric in the strips to make the required number of blocks.  The way the quilt is set out a border is made with the white and contrast fabrics.  I have no idea what the white fabric is - it was a 3m piece in my background fabrics box.  It feels finer than Moda Bella Solid and is a bit milkier white than the White Kona Solid I have.

My curiosity was satisfied and I did some more of Floral Bouquet 2 in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" while watching the tennis.

21 January 2014

Catch Up

Friday night I started sewing the APQ Quiltalong blocks together.  Four rows of blocks and 4 rows of sashing were done that night.

Had quite a busy day on Saturday:  breakfast with the Schoolgirls followed by a quick trip to Sydney to buy some birthday presents for a couple of up-coming BIG birthdays; then on Saturday night I added the last two rows of sashing and last row of blocks.

Sunday morning I needed to do some housework, including cleaning the laundry and sorting through the laundry cupboard.  I came upon a diary Elizabeth wrote when she was in Year 1 - always so entertaining.

Sunday afternoon I started making the backing for my APQ Quiltalong

and finished it Sunday night after dinner with friends.

Last night Mum and I went out for dinner and I took her to see "Saving Mr Banks" - she loved it and I really enjoyed seeing it again.

Stitching Girls tonight - first time for this year.  Friday night I'll be flying to Queensland to spend the long weekend with Diann and Bill - can't wait - haven't seen Diann since June last year and Bill since Elizabeth and Matt's wedding.

15 January 2014

Floral Bouquet No 2

I first made this quilt in 2011 as our Tuesday Girls quilt-along for that year.  In April 2012 I cut out a second Floral Bouquet using a jelly roll of Fig Tree Breakfast at Tiffany's and all the pieces have sat in a bag ever since.  I came across the bag when going through all of my Fig Tree fabrics for the APQ Quilt-Along and left it out on the chair, thinking I would get to it once Tone it Down is finished.

Telling myself I needed a little break from Tone it Down (I can rationalise with the best), on Monday night I sewed all the snow squares onto the strips.  Yesterday, after work I pressed and trimmed them


and sewed one block together while watching/listening to Lleyton Hewitt's match.

After dinner, I just kept going.

The mis-placed block has been turned around.
I'll add the outer fabric to the blocks tonight then might get back to Tone it Down - I still have a few sashing pieces to cut and need to decide on final placement.

I have a little bag of the triangle off-cuts from both Floral Bouquet quilts - all Fig Tree fabrics with Moda Bella Solid Snow.  The pieces are small - about 2" across the straight grain edge.

If anyone would like these, please say so in a comment - first in gets them.  Happy to post anywhere.  The little triangles have been claimed.

13 January 2014

Great Weekend

I love weekends:  free time and accepting spontaneous invitations.  Lovely company and dinner on Friday night - ate way too much but the antipasto, pizza and panna cotta was too delicious.

A few jobs to do around the house on Saturday, a little sewing and then went to see "August:  Osage County" with Mum and Lynell.  We really enjoyed the movie but it is very confronting - definitely not the usual light-hearted rom-com I watch.  The MA15+ rating is a bit of an indicator of the language.  The acting is fantastic and there definitely will be a few Oscar nominations for this film.

Last Tuesday my friend Barbara returned from her 7 weeks trip around Europe - including a Rhine River Cruise stopping at all the Christmas markets.  Was so good to see her yesterday and catch up on some of her holiday news over lunch.  Later in the afternoon we went to the pictures to see "Saving Mr Banks" - wonderful, wonderful movie.  I had no idea of the storyline so it was quite a surprise to me.  I knew very little about PL Travers and will definitely learn more about her after seeing this film.  Looking forward to seeing this film again.

Finished off blocks 16-20 of the APQ Quiltalong over the weekend and re-made block 15 - I wasn't at all happy with the outer circle fabric.

Block 15

Blocks 16-20
All the blocks and nine-patch posts
Most of the sashing strips have been cut and I'll spend a while sorting which blocks, posts and sashings go where.  Not keen on this part of the quilt-making process.  In all there are 70 different Fig Tree fabrics from 11 ranges (as well as Fig Tree Dots and Fig Tree Cream Moda Bella Solid for the background).

There are so many beautiful versions of this quilt on Instagram.

10 January 2014

Found Another Little Bucket

This one is 3/4 full of Bonnie and Camille Vintage Modern triangle offcuts from the still unquilted "Kiss Me" quilt top.

These are much more exciting and will make 1-5/8" finished squares - a little easier to manage.  Don't know how many triangles are in this bucket.

APQ Quiltalong Blocks 9-15.  

5 to go - might sew them up tomorrow.  Now that all the segments are made, the blocks go together very quickly.  I'm still unsure about sashing.  Plain or a variety of Fig Tree fabrics?  I'll take some photos then decide.

Finally finished stitching Best Friends Forever Block 3 at lunchtime - this one has been on the go for around 3 months.  Going to be very slow progress on this quilt.

Out for dinner tonight and going to see "August Osage County" tomorrow evening.  I also want to see "Saving Mr Banks".

09 January 2014

Just Thinking ...

Thinking is sometimes not a good thing to do.

I've had this stash of off-cuts from the "Picnic" sitting in the sewing room for quite a while.  This container is only small (~6" high) and it holds about 1,232 small triangles.  I saw the 25 HST quilt Thelma and Carrie made just before Christmas and really liked it, remembering that I had all those small triangles.  The free link to a printable design is on Camille's blog.  Turns out all those little triangles, when sewn together into half-square triangles, trimmed and sewn into the blocks will make about 38 x 4-1/2" blocks.  A lot of sewing and trimming for what could be a cot sized quilt.

Anyway, last night I spent about half an hour chain piecing away while the tennis was on and I ended up sewing 86 HST's which will end up at 1-5/8" square unfinished.


Made a little dent in the amount in the container.  Somehow, I think the container will end up back on the shelf for a while.

All the four and nine patches are made for the APQ quiltalong ready to start sewing the final 11 blocks together.

Almost the weekend - this first week back at work is just too much.

06 January 2014

Tone it Down

Six blocks are together now and I have the pieces ready to sew another then I'll need to make some more four and nine patches for the next few blocks.

What's great is that some of my friends have started making the blocks as well - they are all looking fantastic and everyone showing their blocks on Instagram adds to the fun.

03 January 2014

Heads Up No 1

Beautiful Christmas Bush from Peta's Mother's garden - I was so happy when Barbara turned up with this.

Mum and I had a lovely, busy few days in Canberra.  We stopped in Goulburn on the way there for afternoon tea.

I lived in Canberra in the mid-1970's and was very happy to see this place is still operating.  Mum and I had breakfast there on Sunday morning.

 Mum had a list of where she wanted to visit and we managed to go to all of them:  Parliament House, Portrait Gallery, National Gallery and top of the list, the War Memorial

Nothing like a milkshake after a big day out.
It was a nice change to do some sewing when I arrived home - felt like ages since I'd done any straight sewing just for me.  I love all the "Tone It Down" photos I've seen on blogs and Instagram.  I drew up the pattern before Christmas and it took me a while but I tracked down an e-version of the magazine (American Patchwork & Quilting) so that I could check my calculations were correct.  I'm not quite following the original design in that I'm using one background fabric (Moda Bella Solid Fig Tree Cream) and I'm using all my Fig Tree fabrics.

So far I've used 60 different Fig Tree fabrics - would be fantastic to not repeat a fabric but I don't have enough to do that.  The repeats will be in the little nine-patch posts in the sashings.  I'm still thinking about whether to have plain sashings or Fig Tree sashings.

On Wednesday I wanted to make one of the dolls inspired by the heads from Helen - I chose "Wishes Do Come True"- she's such a sweetie.

I am thrilled to bits with her (even with the OTT trim on her hat - couldn't find any plain swansdown in our local shops) - thank you Helen.  Will start another doll very soon.

I have a couple of doll kits ready to sew up and came across Alwyn the Elf that I bought a few years ago so thought I'd make him.

He is the companion for Twinkle Toes Tess - made her quite some time ago - she's a favourite, especially the tiny gingerbread men in her basket and the plum pudding.

Mum and I went to see "Philomena" last night - such a sad, true story based on a Magdalen Laundry inmate told with such compassion and acted beautifully (Judi Dench and Steve Coogan).  I am truly astounded by how cruel people can be to each other.

Not looking forward to work on Monday - too much fun at home.


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