09 March 2021

March already !!

Is it just me or does this year seem to be speeding along ? maybe its because this time last year the whole world seemed to slow down, a lot !! 

anyway, I had a very productive February so I'm happy to be sharing progress on some of my UFO projects for this month's Furtle with Archie the Wonderdog :)

First up is my Message in a Bottle UFO - as I discovered when I pulled out this project last month, I hadn't made much progress on this quilt since the initial workshop with Irene Blanck in October 2015 !!

I've now sorted the applique fabric for each block - I'm using turned edge applique as its a lot easier on my hands than the needle turn method - so all the blocks are ready to have the applique edges prepped for hand sewing.

The pattern calls for alternate appliqued orange peel and melon blocks for the borders but I've decided to change that up and I've made hourglass blocks for the borders instead.  I know that if I had to do more applique after I'd finished all the blocks that the project might stall again and as there are hourglass blocks in the quilt I'm hoping that the hourglass border will look good ! (apologies for the photo quality)

The other UFO I've been working on recently is my Steam Punk Quilt - again I've made quite a bit of progress on this one as I've unpicked and resewn 31 of the 41 blocks !! (its ok, I already know I'm crazy !!) so now when I sew the sashing on the blocks I won't cut off the edges of the propellers !!

Jen Kingwell's pattern calls for 7 half blocks to use as some of the setting triangles but after making and remaking 70 of these blocks I've decided to use just fabric for all of the setting triangles !  Again, its all about doing what I can do get these projects finished !!

I'm currently prepping the centre circles and will applique them before I sew the sashing so I might even have this top done by next month soon !  You can see the polka dot sashing I plan to use along with the setting triangle fabric in the photo above.

I've been playing around with the layout and moving blocks around for the past week but I think I might now have the final layout - it helps to view as black and white too - especially with all the colour chaos in this quilt - this quilt's working title is Hectic !!

My Lawn Star has also grown a little more this month ...

and I have less than 80 diamonds to go !! 

but I think I might need a bigger design wall to lay them all out :)  I had a big session of removing the papers from these blocks which was a great way of seeing all of the different fabrics - I have some of the first fabrics I bought in this quilt so it will be a real time capsule of my stash !!  There's even a scrap from a stitchery I made for my mum and also scraps from when I used to make cloth dolls - over 20 years ago !!

I also managed to make and finish some mini quilts, a cushion, and a couple of handbags - I'll post about these soon !

Phew that's probably the most sewing I've done in ages - hopefully the mojo keeps going through March !!

Popping over to link up with Archie The Wonder Dog !

Archie the Wonderdog Furtle blog button

01 February 2021

a summer furtle to welcome 2021

Wow last time I was here I had just furtled through August and now its the first of February - where does the time go !?!?! I had planned to blog before Christmas and this is now my new year post too !!

I was so excited about saying goodbye to the crazy year that was 2020 and jumping into 2021 but with the new strains of the covid virus popping up before we've even got the initial virus under control globally, I'm thinking 2021 will probably be more of a year of transitioning to our "new normal" - at this point our old "normal" is long gone !l Anyway, I hope you and your loved ones were able to share in the holiday season !

I was going to do a happy new year post before deciding just to welcome the new year quietly with heartfelt wishes that 2021 brings some hope and healing to the world.

As its the first of February today, its time to join Mini Archie for a furtle around the place !

Archie the Wonderdog Furtle blog button

Just lately I have been busy sewing some little quilts but I still have an ever growing UFO list so I had a bit of a rummage in the depths of the UFO basket cupboard to see what projects I might resurrect this year !

I discovered that quite a few of my UFOs have a considerable stash of fabric with them - they take up quite a bit of space and as I'm trying to keep all of my fabric on one area I thought I might separate some projects into monthly sections although that idea might take some time in itself - ha!

In keeping with this idea I pulled out my Message in a Bottle quilt to make the project into a BOM style and discovered that I only completed one block at the 2 day workshop I attended with Irene Blanck back in 2015 ! so splitting it up and doing the prep work to make it into a BOM would probably take longer than just starting sewing so that was the end of my BOM idea !!

Due to being easily overwhelmed by my extra large to-do list, my plan for this year is to just put forward a few projects that I would like to make progress on - nice and casual like - just to work on when there are no other pressing deadlines like I have currently with a new season of Project Quilting underway.

Project Quilting by Kim Lapacek

If you haven't heard of Project Quilting it is an annual challenge to make a quilt in a week - from start to finish ! Season 12 started last month, and for the first two challenges this year they've had record numbers of entries so pop over to Kim's blog to find out all about this fun challenge and join in :) The theme is dropped on a Sunday (US time) and then you need to make a quilt and link it up by the next Sunday.  The 3rd challenge for this season was just released today and this week's theme is "virtual vacation" - did I mention there are very generous prizes for entering each challenge too ?!?

I have actually finished the first two challenges for this year (although not by the deadline) and I still have an unfinished one from last year so I will post about those very soon !

Project Quilting Season 12 Challenge 2

Another old project I've pulled out from the UFO pile is the Steam Punk quilt - I finished making the blocks for this quilt a while ago and I couldn't wait to sew up the top until I went to sew on the sashing strips and discovered that when I was sewing the blocks together I was so busy making sure the centre of each block matched up that I didn't worry about the outside edges and the edges are the seams that matter as the centre will be covered by a circle anyway !!!! jeepers !!!!

seam allowances to be resewn - Steam Punk Quilt blocks

I can see myself making sure that I had my centres lined up when I was sewing these blocks - even Jen Kingwell commented on my matching centre seams on a block I posted on Instagram and I remember being so pleased with myself - honestly!! suffice to say that almost half of the blocks need some unpicking - if I leave them it means that I cut off the corners of the fans which are the main part of the block !! oh well, these are the things you learn along the way aren't they - how else do we improve otherwise !

Steam Punk block

Its not all that bad though as last week I discovered the tv show Spooks (obviously I missed it when it was released 10 20 years ago !) with the fabulous Matthew Macfadyen so I'm looking forward to unpicking and re-pinning the blocks whilst watching a wonderful British spy show but ultimately I do want to get this quilt finished so I'll add it close up to the top of the pile so it might have a chance of some progress.

Another of Jen Kingwell's quilts that I've been working on lately is her Lawn Star although I'm making mine from scraps so I'm paper piecing the diamonds rather than making them from sewn strips.

Lawn Star blocks

There are 200 diamonds in the quilt and I've made 100 so halfway there ! its also been a good way of sorting my scraps while I go - all of my scraps were mixed together in big plastic tubs but by spending a little time while trying to find short strips to use in the scrappy Lawn Star I've been sorting in squares, long strings, and triangles along with fat 1/8s and fat 1/16s as I go so its been a scrap bonus project too :)

Oh and I still have to finish the bag that I started for my cousin last year - it was for Christmas ! and a cushion for my mum too so they are top of the list for now.

I must be off and link up if I'm to get some of things crossed off that list !

PS - thanks and a gold medal if you kept reading to the bottom of the really not-intended long post x

17 September 2020

furtling through August

Hello there - hope you are well and coping with crazy life as much as you can! 

I’m just scraping in right on the deadline again, with a Springtime Furtle!!

My big news for this Furtle is that I’ve finally finished my Midnight at the Oasis top – woohoo !! the little churn dash blocks were on my wall for a while as I got distracted by making other things but finally I needed to just get them finished so I could get my design wall back !! (better photos coming soon)

 Midnight at the Oasis quilt

 I’ve also recently made a couple of bags and a wallet and I have another two bags cut out and ready to sew – I’m making the two sizes of the Hillside Tote bag by Noodlehead.

fabric choices for Hillside Tote

however due to an ironing board injury I had to stop sewing for a week - I thought I’d lost the tip of my finger when the leg of the ironing board broke while I was holding onto it and my fingers got caught when the leg collapsed and sprung up and jammed two fingers ! This is the nail of my middle finger the day after - I also got a big cut on the other side as well as losing a chunk from the middle of the tip of my index finger – it hurt like crazy and the ironing board is now on the rubbish pile - ha!

 I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to sew for a while but thankfully the cuts healed quite quickly and just in time to take part in last weekend’s Maria Shell (Tales of a Stitcher) online zoom class – wow, what an amazing class that was – Maria makes the most amazing improv quilts and I was so excited to be able to join in the online class.  Due to the time differences I didn’t take the live class but watched the recording of it later so that was almost as good.  I’ve made a couple of mirrored stripes and I look forward to making a lot more soon!

mirrored stripes - made stripe fabric

I've been thinking of making a shades of green quilt for a while and a few weeks ago I came back from walking Pippi and just had to find the fabric and start cutting and sewing right then - I was a bit possessed I think! I free-cut skinny strips of fabric, sewed them together, and then re-cut a few strips, turned them upside down, and then sewed them back together! I just had this idea in my head that I had to make and I made it in a couple of days – of course when I finished I knew I was going to revisit it later and then when I discovered Maria was doing an online class I jumped at the chance to join in and now I know exactly what I’m going to do with my little green quilt!

Snake Hollow - 14 shades of green quilt

For a change of scene, instead of setting myself sewing goals this month I’m going to set blogging goals instead! I’m going to do a post about my Midnight at the Oasis adventure, a post explaining my 14 shades of green top, and a post about my recent bag and wallet makes – let’s see how I go by the end of the month :)

Before I go I want to shout out and thank my friend Linda (Flourishing Palms) for the notice about Maria’s zoom class via the Vermont Quilt Festival – Linda has blogged about quite a few fabulous zoom classes she has taken lately and when she mentioned that she was taking Maria’s class I just had to check it out !!  

So when I’m feeling dazed and confused by the global pandemic that has struck us all, I am also grateful for the technology that means there are now amazing artists jumping into online teaching, and that I can now take classes with teachers across the world from my home – it really is a little bit of sunshine to fade away the gloom.

floating stripes

 Linking up to Archie the Wonder dog :)

 Archie the Wonderdog Furtle blog button 

15 July 2020

a winter furtle ...

Happy July ! its now the middle of the year and the world is still in the midst of a global pandemic and I still haven't finished my Midnight at the Oasis quilt ... but I AM getting closer !!  so its time for a little furtle around ...

I did hope to get the top done by the end of June but I've adjusted my plans - we're all probably getting pretty good at adjusting plans these days - and now I have a new plan !

I finally finished the orange peels and then finished sewing down the appliqued circles on the centre piece - I also changed out one of the triangles in the centre piece as well. I've now sewn the centre block and the orange peel border together and I've added the applique border too !

Now I have to finish sewing down the stems around the corner basket blocks and also applique the flowers to the baskets - I'm hoping to get that finished by the end of this week.

then its onto the Churn Dash blocks - I need to sew another 40 odd 4 inch blocks - I've made a few and its been fun playing with all the fabric combos - how many fabrics can I use in one tiny block ?!?!!

As I've already finished the checkerboard border and the final courthouse steps border, once I sew all the churn dash blocks I can sew all the borders together - so my new plan is to have the top finished by next month's Furtle post - if I can stop changing and rearranging that is !!

Thanks for popping by - I hope you are staying safe and well and enjoying life as much as possible in these crazy times ! I'm constantly thankful for this creative outlet that I love and that I can retreat into when it all gets too overwhelming :)

Linking up to Archie the Wonderdog's monthly Furtle

  Furtling Around the Blogosphere

16 May 2020

furtling around at home

Wow another couple of months have zoomed by in this crazy year - I'm sure its not just me who thinks that this year has literally flown by !?! which is good and bad too, I suppose !

anyway, it’s time to join Archie The Wonderdog for a furtle around - although to be honest its halfway through the month so I'm more than a little late to the party, especially as I started writing this post for last month's linkup which I missed !!

Like everyone else, I'm finding it hard to make sense of everything at the moment and like everyone else I've been staying at home and trying to stay safe in the current global crisis, although it sounds like we might start opening up a bit by the end of May !

A little while ago I was looking for something to straight sew - something easy and not too taxing on the brain - I think I needed to just sew to keep my mind off all the Coronavirus news and as my current projects all need at least a little bit of focus, I went digging around in one of my UFO boxes and 5 hours later found the fabrics I’d put together to make a Maple Leaf quilt - back in 2015 - lol !!

Even though it was late afternoon I got quite a few blocks cut ready for sewing and sewed a few blocks up - my original plan was for a cream background but I had this Kona Zucchini on hand and I really like how it mixes with all the browns as well as the oranges and yellows :)

At the beginning of April half of the blocks were made - I’m going for a 7 block x 7 row quilt - 63 inch square - and when I put them together on the design wall I thought it looked very busy although I think the alternate row direction above makes it a little less busy !!

Maple Leaf blocks

so now I’m wondering if it needs sashing and then I thought I could combine with solid squares or maybe use only a few blocks in lots of negative space !! anyway, I’ll continue to ponder as I finish making the blocks with the fabric I’ve already cut :) I'll continue to ponder and make the blocks when I find where I've put them again !!! Honestly, once a project comes off the design wall it seems to just disappear - although I'm sure it will resurface again at just the right time when I need meditation sewing again :)

My Midnight At The Oasis project has slowly been moved from the design wall

Midnight at the Oasis

every time I had another little project to do another piece was taken off so its totally off now although I am very happy to say I've finished all of the orange peel blocks !!!! so once I put the centre block back together I can start sewing a couple of borders on - yay.

flower applique

The other project I mentioned in my last furtle is the Hourglass blocks - a prompt by The Ad Hoc Improvisational Quilters. I’ve made quite a few blocks now.

I'm still thinking about what I’ll do with them - I had a thought about columns, a la chinese coins, with solid fabrics in between columns of hourglass blocks and maybe strips in between blocks or chunks of blocks, then I thought about a medallion style with those little pink and grey blocks in the centre - anyway, I'll keep playing for a little while longer with these little piles ... while I ponder !

especially as I've already moved onto another recent UFO -  my sherbet Ocean Waves blocks - I finally tracked down the 3 fabrics I'd "misplaced" and I'm absolutely loving making these blocks - it looks just like the mock up block I made in Electric Quilt !!

sherbet Ocean Waves

I'm looking forward to these blocks becoming a quilt and hopefully I won't get distracted by anything else long enough to get the rest of the blocks sewn :)

Anyway, I must post this before the link closes !!  happy sewing, stay safe, and I hope life is starting to look a little like the new normal wherever you are :)

Furtling Around the Blogosphere

26 March 2020

Classic and Vintage - Carolina Lily block

I'm taking a break from the dominant issue in world news today to show my version of the Carolina Lily block that I made with the free pattern from the Fat Quarter Shop's Classic and Vintage series.

It was a fairly easy block to sew together and I used a couple of fabrics that I've used in other projects recently - my favourite OOP Dreamin Vintage in Bloomery for the background, Spark in Peony by Melody Miller for Ruby Star Society for the flowers and Enchanted Sprout Dots by Gingiber for the flower bases and bias stems.

I love making bias stems but I hadn't used them with a patchwork block before so I decided to sew them on by machine using top stitch and I quite like the effect.  I'm planning on making a pillow and machine quilting the blocks so the stem stitches will blend nicely :)

I did initially think about adding a strip border to the block but I'm now thinking about setting the block on point and adding triangles to the sides to make a larger pillow and I think I might just use the background fabric rather than adding a different border fabric but we'll see !!

Pop over and visit the Jolly Jabber blog today to see all the other fabulous Carolina Lily blocks that were made for this Classic and Vintage quilt along and don't forget that the Fat Quarter Shop has flash sales every single day :)

Fat Quarter Shop Daily Flash Sale

10 February 2020

finally furtling

my friend Helen who blogs over at Archie the Wonderdog decided to revive her blog last year and to encourage others back to blogging she is hosting a monthly link up called Furtling Around the Blogosphere!

 Furtling Around the Blogosphere

That was last January and at the time I was really excited about getting back into blogging as I really miss not having more info about projects with the process and ideas included but of course another year has been and gone and I haven't done a Furtle post at all !!

and I might have winced just a bit (or was that a wink!) when reading a recent post by Audrey of Quilty Folk ... and I quote ... 
"Don't you just love the people who write a post after being gone for 9 months, tell us how wonderful the blogging community is and how they're recommitting? Then after another post or two they disappear forever. We're like, 'Hey, come back here! We love you!'. But it's no use, they're off over at Instagram scooping up the 'likes'."
Audrey is an amazing blogger, a prolific maker, and an allround lovely person - she makes the most wonderful improv quilts with amazing hand quilting and posts incredible details about the making of her quilts. Oh and she is the mastermind behind Quilty 365 !

Even though I think I haven't made that much to blog about, when I look around I have so many projects on the go and although it is fun to have instant feedback when posting on Instagram I really do worry that the algorithms they use mean that I don't even see the people I love anymore anyway and the advertising is getting more and more !! I do love having all of this blank space to post photos and tell stories, especially as I'm such a long term maker - haha !

As usual at this time of year I'm trying to come up with a plan to get all the projects done - I re-read a few of my previous year's first planning posts which obviously didn't work but it was fun reading :) I'm going to go with the "working on mainly one project for the month" plan for the moment.

I've been working on a couple of projects this year that I'll share soon and recently I've moved forward on my Midnight at the Oasis quilt.

The orange peel blocks have been my slow point - I have a bit of an issue with hand applique that I think is to do with my RA but since I've discovered turned edge applique I'm finding it easier to prepare the pieces and I'm actually getting the blocks hand sewn a bit quicker - I also have my Quilty 365 blocks close by so I've been hand sewing those a little as well !

I really love the little stitches on the back of the applique !

I know I said I was going to work on mainly one project but of course I'm always getting distracted by the latest bright and shiny thing - the above mentioned Audrey is also a member of The Ad Hoc Improvisational Quilters

Their first prompt for this year is Hourglass blocks and I've found that I have a large stash of half square triangles just right for making lots of improv hourglass blocks - of course I've yet to start but the ideas are whirring around in my head!!

I'm off to walk the dog and then hopefully a little hand sewing before bed :)

have an awesome week !

10 January 2020

welcome 2020

sunset in Hobart 30 December 2019

and what a start to the new decade here in Australia - I took this photo the day before new year's eve in Hobart - no filters needed.  Its amazing to think we're already 10 days into the new year and it feels like there's a hush over the whole country.

I had plans for a roundup post in January so I could link up to Helen and Archie's Furtle Around but over the Christmas - New Year break the bushfires, already burning in parts of Australia, turned up a notch and so those plans were put on hold.  By Christmas Day there were bushfires raging in every part of Australia.

map of bushfires in Australia on Christmas Day 2019
photo -

The town of Tumbarumba where I lived until a few years ago had fires at the edge of town on New Year's Eve and lost the mobile phone tower that night - by Friday the town was evacuated.  Such a scary situation to be in.  Thankfully no lives were lost.

Its such a tragic situation that its hard not to get drawn into the hopelessness. I'm listing a few places if you would like to donate directly.

Red Cross Australia

Wires Animal Rescue

Australian World Wildlife Fund

so instead of planning projects for the new year I started sewing pouches for wildlife and this week I worked on the first challenge for Season 11 of Project Quilting which I'll post about later.

I'll still have a roundup post to show off some of my makes from last year including my finally finished Double Wedding Ring quilt that I started five or six years ago - there are so many Finish Along posts about this quilt its probably the most mentioned quilt here - I might check the stats on that :)

double wedding ring quilt - last few stitches on the binding

and I'll also post my plans for this year which include finishing my Midnight at the Oasis quilt !

my version of Midnight at the Oasis quilt by Jen Kingwell of Amitie Textiles

so a belated happy new year and cheers to another year of creativity :)