30 January 2013

a year of lovely finishes for January

its finally done - the little capsule/pram cover that I made for Lucy is finished ! and I think its sooo cute:)

I know exactly what took me so long to get this little sweetie finished - the quilting !  it seems that every time I think of quilting I panic !  but you know what - I loved doing the quilting on this little one and it wasn't hard at all.

I've discovered I love doing straight line quilting so I've just got to remember that ! 

When I think back to a couple of minis I made last year I can't believe I hand quilted this quilt...

I was worried I'd mess it up if I did straight line quilting - and now I think how great it would have looked with some straight line quilting like this one...

I'm so glad I did straight line quilting on that one - I think it really makes the quilt !

so now I really want to try free motion quilting and I definitely panic whenever I think of it but I don't want to straight line quilt every quilt I make !!  I just need to remember that I CAN do it and the more I practice the better I'll be :)

I think for my February project for a lovely year of finishes I might have to find something that needs quilting so I can practice fmq :)

I was hoping to post a photo of Lucy in her capsule with the new cover but alas her mother has been a bit busy on the farm so hopefully I'll get a photo soon !

I'm linking up to a lovely year of finishes - the linky party closes tomorrow !

25 January 2013

a totally groovy quilt !

yes, it is totally groovy - I've finally finished the groove quilt - the pattern by Emily Cier of Carolina Patchworks that was used for the Totally Groovy Quilt-along - and I LOVE it !

I started cutting and sewing last Sunday - although I'd already sewn all the curved blocks during the quilt-along - and I finished the top last night.

The pattern calls for quite a few pieces and during the quilt-along the girls were talking about adding those pieces up and cutting larger strips - so before christmas I'd worked out all the measurements to sew large strips rather than tiny pieces and it sewed together quite quickly.

I sewed it together in sections then sewed those sections together so it wasn't that hard to do and I'm pretty happy with how my curved pieces turned out - they were the first curved sewing I'd done and I was just a little worried !!

I did the throw size which finished at 63 x 73 so it was a bit too large for my design wall - I had to enlist a friend to hold it up for me to take the photo of the finished quilt :)

I used Kona Solids in petal, cerise, azalea, sprout, and eggplant.  I'm not quite sure how to quilt it with my limited quilting skills and I'm thinking about piecing the back as well so there's still some work to do - I'll have to get a move on though as this quilt is one of my projects for the first quarter of this year's finish-along so just having the top done doesn't cut it!

19 January 2013

a few more blocks

Last week I made a start on the And Sew On paper pieced block of the month and have January's block sewn.

I also finished the last Craftsy block in last year's block of the month - yippee - now I'll be able to put this on my finish-along list later in the year - I need to get some backing organised first!

and on Friday I received a half done mod mosaic block that was my choice for the Design Camp bee in July last year - Tiff didn't get around to finishing it so sent it back to me and I just added a few blocks and its done !  I'm just waiting on one more block and I can thinking about putting this one together as well :)

tomorrow I'm making a start on the totally groovy quilt - can't wait :)

17 January 2013

a sparkling christmas present

just a quick post to show you the christmas present I received from my lovely boss this week!

I went on leave before christmas and when Kay returned to work this week she left a christmas present on my desk !

Its a heat pack made from the most awesome fabric (I'd love to get some yardage!) along with some goat's milk soap and a bottle of Courabyra 805 champagne sparkling wine - Kay always gives the best presents !

I'm thinking the heat pack will come in really handy when my shoulders are tight from free motion quilting !

a little about the wine - its made right here in Tumbarumba by a good friend of mine Cathy Gairn who I've spoken of before as she just happens to have a long-arm machine as well.

The Courabyra 805 Sparkling won trophies last year in the 2012 Citibank NSW Wine Awards and the Wine Wise Small Vignerons Awards for the Best Sparkling Wine and was also named best new wine by the Sydney Good Food Guide !

Its one gorgeous sparkling and it will be saved for a special occasion !

14 January 2013

weekend sewing

I'm sewing with the new Janome - yes, I packed up the old faithful Elna (sniff) and put her away and set up Jilly the Janome !

the first block I sewed was the halloween block that I needed to applique and I used the blanket stitch which went pretty well - just don't look too closely at the zig zag chimney - I definitely need some practice!

then I sewed the binding on Lucy's pram cover and also made the strip ties and she sewed like a dream!  This is my a lovely year of finishes project for January - just need to hand sew the binding and sew on the ties so I should make the deadline !

I love the extension table - its nice and big and made sewing the binding on very easy.  My only issue is that it sits a bit higher than the Elna so when I put my chair higher my legs sit firmly under the drawers of the table - so I might have to find another table at some stage but for now I'll cope !

I also finished a couple of craftsy blocks - only one more to do!

The friendship circle block - its paper pieced and its a block that I've fallen in love with - I can see a whole quilt made from this block.

and the wonky log cabin block - I had used a fabric for the centre that looked terrible when it was finished a while ago so I unpicked it all and used a plain centre - its still not my favourite block but hopefully it will blend in with the others !

and then I sewed a border on an old embroidery that I'm going to make into a cushion.

Its a candlewick embroidery block that I made years ago - finished in 1998 to be precise - I've even dated it (bottom right!).  My excuse is that I was waiting for the perfect fabric to frame it and I think I've pretty much found it.

I'd been thinking about making some cushions for my couch for a little while and when I pulled one of the boxes out of the garage recently and opened it up I found some half made or started cushions from quite a few years ago, this being one of them!  I'm planning to get the others done very soon :)

Linking up to A Lovely Year of Finishes mid month check-in!

12 January 2013

the Janome has arrived !

Mum's Janome arrived on Monday morning which was pretty quick as Mum and Dad only posted it from Queensland on Friday - it was sent with Australia Post and they delivered it lickety split and she arrived in good order too - thanks Australia Post !

I'm very excited that mum decided to pass her machine onto me when she bought her new Janome Horizon at the end of last year.

For one it means that I can do blanket stitch applique on the machine rather than doing it by hand which has been the only way in the past (extremely time consuming) as my gorgeous old Elna doesn't have fancy stitches !

I'm planning on learning free motion quilting on the Janome as the feed dogs drop down - there is also a needle down function and a speed control without using the foot pedal (I'm sure that function has a fancy name!).

There are also lots of other stitches that I'm sure going to have fun discovering !  oh, and she has a nice big extension table - I forgot to put it on for the photo !

I'm sure that mum will be amazed that I have yet to plug her in!! I need to do the machine applique on the halloween house so I'll start her up tomorrow :) and now I'll definitely need to make the old Elna a cover so she will be dust free in her new home in the cupboard !

In the meantime, I used the Elna today to make a couple of blocks for the January Design Camp 2 bee - Shelley is making a quilt based on the bright birch trees quilt by AmandaJean of Crazy Mom Quilts.  Its a really fun design that uses strips of small scraps sewn into blocks. I just discovered this quilt recently and have already put it on my "when my ufos are finished" list as I have a heap of tiny scraps that I can use.

I only received the design camp package from Shelley yesterday and I've finished the blocks already so I think that might just be a record for making bee blocks.

I also made a craftsy block during the week - so I'm slowly getting those done - only a couple more to do!

I've got a few blocks to do tomorrow so I'll try out the new machine and she how she goes :)

09 January 2013

2013 finish along and first quarter list

its time to sign up for the 2013 finish-a-long being hosted by Leanne at she can quilt.

she can quilt

I've decided to join in this finish-a-long in the hope of getting some quilts done this year - I have quite a few in various stages of un-finish that I'd love to get off my WISP list !

If you haven't heard about the finish-a-long, head over and visit Leanne for all the details.

For the first quarter I'm going to nominate five quilts - don't want to put too much pressure on myself !

First up is the Totally Groovy quilt which I started as part of a quilt-a-long in August last year.  I have all the curved pieces sewn and need to now cut all of the other pieces and sew them together, then quilt (eeeek) and bind - sounds like not that much except I haven't quilted anything bigger than a mini quilt and also this quilt is made of all solids so I expect a lot of my time to be spent on working out just how to quilt it - thankfully there are quite a few finished quilts over at the flickr group which have wonderful quilting.  Hopefully I have time to do some free motion lessons and practice before I start - of course there's also the option of giving it to my friend Cathy who just happens to have a long-arm !

Next on the list is the Mod Pop quilt which I started as part of a quilt-a-long in September last year - run by none other than Leanne, our finish-a-long host !  I've managed to get only one block done so I've got a bit to do on this one and I've heard that the flickr group might be closing soon! There are quite a few finished quilts over at the flickr group and hopefully I'll be able to add mine soon !

The third quilt on my list is an hourglass quilt for baby Lucy made with A Walk in the Woods fabric.  As its summer here I'm thinking that if I get it made by the end of the first quarter in April she can use it this winter.  All the blocks are sewn so it just needs to be sewn together when I can work out a layout I like !  I'm thinking of either straight quilting or maybe just stipple quilting on this one (if I get some practice in that is !).

Quilts 4 and 5 are two that I started cutting out a couple of years ago and I've actually sewn some seams but mostly its still at the cut out stage - the reason I have two of them is that once I sewed a few blocks together I saw that the background was way too busy for the blocks to stand out so I bought some cream for the background instead which left me with the first background - so I just bought some of the pink plain fabric so I could make two !

I'm using the Mini Wild Things pattern by Camille of Thimbleblossoms.  I've moved these already cut fabrics around quite a bit over the past few years so they're getting a bit mixed up as they're all at various stages and I really want to get them sewn rather than move them again !

That's my ambitious first quarter list - I'll update as we go along and I hope to give a good report at the end of the quarter in April  :)

07 January 2013

weekend finishes

after having a head cold for a week I finally felt well enough to get some sewing done on the weekend !  I sewed together the october and november Design Camp blocks so they're in the mail.

Jaqueline's theme for October was Life in Wisconsin - well knowing nothing about Wisconsin I found that a bit daunting but Jaqueline sent some amazing "rural" fabrics.  After months of thinking about them I layered them - I really love the egg fabric and wanted to use it.

For November Jody asked for a kind of drunk love log cabin block - I really like doing that block - its so improv.

I did make a small change after I saw the photo - I had used a small piece of white in a corner on the last row that just didn't work - so I changed it before I posted the block off :)

I also did the very overdue September long distance quilting bee block - Jennifer asked for a house block using halloween fabrics in black, orange, and purple - initially I fused the house to the orange background but as you can imagine as the house is also orange it got a bit lost so I peeled it off and put it on the black so it stands out - I was going for a kind of pumpkin shape for the black - not sure if it works but I'm happy with it !

I just need to applique the edges which I'll do as soon as my new machine arrives - Mum sent her on Friday so I'm really hoping she will arrive in the next few days !

I'm tossing up whether to use buttonhole or raw edge applique on this platypus block I'm doing for Jen as part of the Star of Africa swap - so I'll think about it just a couple days more !  suggestions very welcome!  I've used mini bear fabric so there is a definite nap which I thought might suit raw edge better or even zig zag ?

Yesterday I sewed together my first top from Elizabeth Hartman's Inspired Modern Quilts craftsy class that I'm doing - its called scattered squares and I'm hoping it will be my first free motion practice quilt.

and wanting to get a good start on this year's swap blocks, last week I made the January blocks for our do.good stitches care circle.

So that's my start to sewing this year - hope you got a little sewing in on the weekend too :)

05 January 2013

a lovely year of finishes

in keeping with my theme of getting my ufo list down I'm joining Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts and Melissa of Sew BitterSweet Designs  in "A Lovely Year of Finishes".

My Button

A Lovely Year of Finishes is about getting one project finished each month for 12 months which I'm hoping will help me keep on track !

The flickr group has 216 members already so it seems like everyone really wants to get their ufos done this year !

I really like the monthly timetable and also their definition of a project which will help me get my little projects done !

This is their "project" definition:
A project can be what you have going on.  We are all at different sewing levels, and we so love learning from one another. Sometimes it’s finishing up all the swap commitments you have on your plate. Sometimes it’s putting together quilt tops from all those blocks you have had sitting in the corner for, ohhh, more than a year. Sometimes it will be quilting and binding a complete quilt! This is the perfect opportunity to get those projects done.

My project for January 2013 is to get the baby capsule/pram cover done for baby Lucy - I made the top in mid October last year and I've actually started quilting it but haven't worked on it since November - I'm thinking that it should be an achievable project !

not sure why I can't get this photo to rotate but you get the idea!

I'm also hoping determined to get some unfinished and overdue swap blocks done this month.

I have 5 overdue blocks in the Star of Africa swap, the September block still to be done for the Long Distance Quilting Bee, and I'm behind with two blocks in the Design Camp swap.

its Saturday morning so I'm off to the sewing room to make a start on these projects !

hope you have a great weekend  :)

Linking up to A Lovely Year of Finishes Goal Setting Party!

03 January 2013

final projects of 2012

I managed to get a couple of things done in December - one of them was mum's dragonfly embroidery that I actually included in last month's fresh sewing day finishes as I thought I'd finished it - until I went to give it to mum and discovered it wasn't finished at all !

no antennae on the poor little creature !  all fixed now and with the addition of some french knots its finally finished :)

I've ended up putting it in an embroidery hoop for her to hang on the wall of her sewing room - that way she can see it everyday :)

I also made a couple of cushion covers for my sister-in-law for christmas

and a tablerunner for one of my nieces - I finished the binding on boxing day :)

before we left on the cruise  I used mum's new horizon machine to do straight line quilting and matched the top thread to each of the colours and used a bobbin thread to match the back - I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

I was going to do an end of year post with all of my 2012 finishes but as I've joined in Fresh Sewing Day most of the year they've all been shown each month - I will list the statistics for my dad's benefit though - he left me a comment a while ago saying he loved visiting my blog but it made him tired thinking of all the work !!

In 2012 I joined in 13 swaps, 2 blog hops, 4 quilt alongs, 3 block of the months, and a couple of competitions.

I made:
  • around 200 blocks
  • 9 mini quilts
  • a quilt top
  • a diary cover
  • a camera pouch
  • a pouch
  • 2 cushion covers
  • a handbag
  • 2 table runners
  • a needle case
  • 2 hexi needle books
  • 26 magnets
  • 2 key fobs
  • a key wallet
  • a moo card holder
  • 2 name badges
  • a fabric basket
  • a patchwork clock
  • a dragonfly embroidery
  • 2 purses with metal frames
  • and I have 119 hexis sewn together for the hexy mf quiltalong
Notice the one quilt top on that list -  that's why this year I'm not taking part in any new bees, swaps or other new projects - I really want to get some quilt tops done and actually finished not to mention the other ufos lurking in the cupboards !  I haven't included a couple of quilts and another mini that I started late last year - they are on top of my ufo list for this year !

Linking up to Lily's Quilts
Lily's Quilts

02 January 2013

2013 resolutions

at the end of last year while frantically trying to get ahead in my swap commitments I decided that 2013 was going to be all about me ... and getting my ufos finished rather than joining in any swaps or starting new projects.

Well of course before the new year started I signed up for two block of the months for 2013 !

Kristy from Quiet Play is hosting - And Sew On - a sewing related paper pieced block of the month- I like the idea of making a wall hanging for my sewing room so I just had to join in :)

I also signed up to the Sugar Block Club - a block of the month with a sweet treat being run by Amy Gibson who hosted the craftsy BOM that I did last year - I signed mum up as well so we will be doing it together - long distance style !

2013 Sugar Block Club

I'll still be taking part in the design camp swap which finishes in a few months and the Star of Africa swap which finishes mid year - and I'm also continuing with the do.good stitches care circle - this year I'm a quilter as well which I'm really looking forward to.

I've also joined a few craftsy classes - mainly to learn free motion quilting and thankfully there aren't any projects to be finished with those - only practice - phew !

But apart from those (hopefully I'll have some time left !) I've joined two groups to focus on finishing my ufos.

Leanne from she can quilt is hosting the 2013 finish a long where you nominate projects to get finished each quarter.  I'm going to concentrate on getting some of my quilt tops turned into finished quilts with this finish-a-long - luckily I've got a few days before I have to post about what projects I'm going to tackle first as I have quite a list to go through !

she can quilt

I was also invited to join a lovely year of finishes group being hosted by Shanna at fiber of all sorts and Melissa of bittersweet designs - this group will focus on one project a month with a bit more finishing off and catching up rather than having a totally finished quilt - so hopefully I can add my overdue swap blocks to this one :)
I'm going to list all of my ufos as a separate page so I can cross them off as I go - maybe I should call it my wall of shame !!
I'm really looking forward to cutting it down by the end of the year.

With mum's machine arriving next week I'm hoping to be able to do more quilting and get those tops done - I'm happy to straight line quilt as well as trying to learn some free motion quilting - mum's machine will make any quilting easier than my wonderful (but not built for quilting) Elna :)

so how about you - do you have a list of 2013 resolutions ?

here's to hopes and dreams and sticking to those new year resolutions :)