Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Two Quilt Tops Finished!!!

It is always a long time between finishes when I have several projects going at once and many of them are by hand. Well, this month I have finally finished 2 quilt tops!!! Woohoo! :)

The first finish is my hand pieced Lone Star. I started this quilt with several other ladies in my Friday Sewing group at Somerset Patchwork.

Every stitch is by hand, so it took me almost exactly 12 months to finish this top! I plan to machine quilt it (it is huge so would take too long to hand quilt!!), but have no idea how....yet!

As usual. I have had several other projects on the go this month.

I made a little pouch with some Cotton and Steel fabric as a gift.

A little more progress has been made on Mountmellick.

One of the corner blocks...

...and the completed border attached to the centre medallion I made last year!

.Sorry its upside down!!

I have started the next border. So far I have made 5 out of a  dozen hexie flowers using half inch hexies.

Next is another machine stitched block for Citrus Sweet Love.

Last night I finished stitching the very last block of the Chester County Criswell Quilt, block 33.
There have been several challenging blocks in this quilt and I think I found this one the most challenging!!

Today I machine stitched all the blocks together!!

I made the first block in August 2012 and there has been one block a month since then. Lots of hand applique!! I am going to miss stitching one of these blocks every month.
This photo was just a quick shot taken outside. I hope to get some better photos over the next few days. It was fun pulling out all the blocks and remembering those I had stitched many months ago.

Already I have chosen 2 more new quilts to start!!! Plus I have plans to keep working on some older WIP and get some more finishes!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

May stitching

I have all my Noah and Matilda blocks sewn together! I opted with this layout because I want to hand quilt it. The original has the blocks on point with lots of blank blocks in between.
I still have the borders to make. I (hopefully!) have all the grapes made and I have made a start on the flowers and leaves.

Here are a few of my favourite blocks...

I have kept up with CCCQ, so here is the penultimate block!!

Block 32 Alice Carlile.

I have started back stitching Mountellick from last year's Quiltmania mystery BOM. I am working on part 2, the first border around the centre medallion.

I am using BOM fabrics from Threadbear.

I have put together some hexies using Cotton & Steel fabrics.

These are for the top of a small bag.

Earlier this week I visited a new shop here in Melbourne.  Cutting Cloth has been open only a few days and is run by Kellie of Don't Look Now. The shop is set out beautifully.

I came home with a lovely piece of Cotton & Steel lawn, some fat quarters of Alison Glass fabric and the perfect piece of fabric for my Joseph's Coat quilt that I started on line with Kellie several years ago! The top has been finished for ages. I have just been trying to find the prefect backing fabric.

Today I put the last stitch in the binding of small quilt.

More photos when the quilt has been gifted.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Back again!!! With stitching and a review of Tulip Needles.

Well, March has zoomed by and we are into the 2nd half of April already!
March was a bit hectic around here and I ended up getting sick earlier this month. I'm well on the road to recovery now! :)

A little down time has meant I have been able to catch up on some sewing.

Last week I finished sewing together all 8 sections on my Lone Star.

Next will be the setting squares and triangles. I am still deciding whether to applique some smaller stars on the background fabric.

I've managed to keep up with the Chester Criswell blocks.

Block 30

and block 31.

Only 2 more blocks to go!!!

I have completed one more block for Citrus Sweet Love.

The next block is half finished. I hope to get that one done tonight.

For Noah and Matilda I have made a little pile of purple grapes for the border. Lots more to go! I have extra fabric for the vines coming in the post, so when that arrives Noah and Matilda will be full steam ahead again!

Recently I purchased a set of Tulip Needles. They are beautifully packaged!

Sorry the photo is up side down!!

I have tried a few of them now.

The sewing needles are no. 9 and are a bit thicker than I am used to using. The gold eye is easy to thread and think they will be good to use for general sewing.

The milliners needles come in 3 sizes. I choose the finest needle to try out. It is a longer needle with a small eye. I didn't have trouble threading Aurfil 50. The needle has some "flex".

So far my favourite needle is the applique needle. It is shorter than the milliners, but has a much larger eye.
I have used both Aurifil 50 for piecing and YLI silk for applique using the milliners and the applique needle. Both needles have "flex" and are nice and thin. When I first started using the needles I encountered some "resistance" to the needles passing through the fabric. However, I persevered with stitching to give the needles a good try out. I am wondering if there is some kind of coating on the needles because after some use they become much easier to pass through the fabric. I had no trouble finding the only needle I had used after it had been put back with all the others.

I hope everyone is finding lots of stitching time! :)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

February Stitching

It is the last day of summer here and, now in the mid afternoon, the sun is just beginning to shine. It has been an overcast, humid day with the promise of some much needed rain tonight.

February has had some days of no stitching at all and other days when I have achieved lots. :)

I made a start on Citrus Sweet Love. The first block, Emma's Puzzle finished using all Cotton & Steel fabrics. I machine pieced this block.

I finished a mini with some fabric from a fat quarter swap our sewing group had just before Christmas.

The fabrics are Yuwa and Cotton & Steel. I was inspired by a table runner I saw posted by @quiltsandwichfabrics on Instagram. The mini is machine pieced and I hand quilted it using DMC 80.
More of the Yuwa fabric was used making the pouch I showed in my February 1st post.

My Lone Star is coming along slowly. I've almost finished the 6th section of the star!

Noah and Matilda has been sitting on the side lines, somewhat. I have made more than 20 little grapes for the border. There is still a long way to go!

This week I managed to complete February's CCCQ, block 29, Maria Criswell. Only 4 more block patterns to come for this quilt.

I have also sewn a little more on the hexagons I showed in the February 1st post.

I'm looking forward to a day of hand stitching with friends tomorrow. :) I hope to get that 6th lone star section finished!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Some recent blooms from my garden:

Remembering Duncan. Ten years today.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Hari-Kuyo Festival of Broken Needles

Today is February 8th, where, in Japan, the Festival of Broken Needles is celebrated. Each year the a ceremony is held to give thanks to the needles that needle workers have used in their stitching over the last 12 months.  Seamstresses and embroiderers take their broken and worn needles to a shrine where  the needles are placed in tofu or jelly. The ceremony is to give gratitude and show respect to the needles and to pray for improved needle working skills. The belief is that inanimate objects also have a soul and as women stitch they pass their burdens onto their needles  The needles are given a soft resting place.

Several years ago I participated in a course held by Susan Elliott to create a needlebook.

My needle book has been well used.

The last page of this book is where broken and worn needles are stored.

I place my needles in a piece of batting and put that in a small container and bury it in my rose garden.

I have made several needle books now and given them as gifts.

Hari-Kuyo is a fascinating tradition that has been celebrated for several hundred years.

To read more about how I made my first needlebook and lots more about this wonderful tradition see here.

Susan has a post about the festival and how to create your own needlebook here .

Have you made a needle book?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

New Projects for 2015, finishes and WIPs

Who can resist beginning something new for the new year?  With an enormous choice of new quilts appearing I have chosen 2 that have been around for a little while.

The first is Sweet Citrus Love, a quilt pattern available from Treehouse Textiles and designed by Emma, Sarah and Cathy.  I plan to use mostly Cotton and Steel fabrics for this quilt.

Here I have started auditioning fabrics for the first block.

I am using a mixture of fabrics from both quilting cotton collections from C & S.
Citrus Sweet Love is a great combination of both piecing and applique. I plan to make this quilt by hand.

My 2nd quilt will be La Passacaglia from a Quiltmania book by Willyn Hammerstein. It is the cover quilt in this book.  Again I will be using lots of Cotton & Steel fabrics and stitching by hand. I don't expect to finish this quilt any time soon!!! Lol I have seen lots of versions on blogs and Instagram and the colour choices I have seen are very inspiring!!!  Almost every quilt I have seen has been made using English paper piecing. However, I am going to have a go at making it just piecing.

Now for some things I have been stitching over the last few weeks.

Lots of Noah and Matilda!!

Exotic Flower:

Three Flower Stem:

Four Tulips:


All the blocks completed!!!

This won't be the final arrangement of blocks. I just wanted to see them all together. Next week I will start the border blocks. It is going to take a while; there are something like 200 tiny grapes to make!!!!

I finished block 28 of CCCQ, Mary McDowell. (patterns available here)

Only 5 more blocks to go!!

Mostly I hand stitch at night after dinner. When I have time during the day I stitch on the machine.
At the end of last year one of the stitch groups I am in had a fat quarter swap. I decided to make a mini and a small pouch. I wish I had taken a photo of the original fabric, but you will just have to imagine it! Lol Here is a small peek at the mini. I am still hand quilting...

I appliqued circles from the fabric to use on the pouch:

The exterior fabrics and Cotton and Steel. For the lining I used a piece of fabric by Julie Wallace, and Australian quilter and designer, who passed away late last year.

Another machine project is something I decided to attempt after seeing a quilt on Jacquie's blog, Tallgrass Prairie Studio. Tutorial here. This will be a mini quilt of hexagons entirely pieced by machine. I am about half finished right now, but here is a photo from earlier....

I have used a mixture of Cotton and Steel and Maze and Vale fabrics.  This project has been a huge lesson for me in very accurate cutting and very accurate 1/4 inch seams!! (there has been some unpicking, trimming and re-stitching!)

My Lone Star quilt is still growing. No photos this month, but the next section is more than half done.

You may remember that last year I was lucky enough to win a very generous giveaway on Lynne's blog, Lily's Quilts., where I won 12 fat quarters of Cotton and Steel fabric a month for 12 months from Pink Castle Fabrics.  I really want to again thank Lynne, the ladies at Pink Castle and the ladies at Cotton and Steel. While I still love reproduction fabrics and recreating quilts from the past, in the last few months the direction of my sewing and quilting has been moving to more "modern" sewing. I have been inspired by these new fabrics to take a new look at the types of quilts I make. Now I need twice as many sewing hours every day!! Lol!!!!!

The latest bundle from Pink Castle's Cotton and Steel Club:

Love those butterflies! :)

Lastly, a photo of the flowering gum in our back yard.

Have  a great weekend, everyone! :)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ahhh, Applique!!! How I have missed you!

It has been quite a while since I did any applique. In fact, so long that the callous on my fingertip was gone and I had to  get out my thimblepads!

I have, finally, begun working on the last 4 blocks for Noah and Matilda. One and a half blocks done!

There has been plenty of stitching happening here, but its all been on the machine.

Another bag for a gift;

Japanese taupes on the external pocket.

Love the button.

 A small purse using Cotton and Steel fabrics:

and another little dumpling pouch.

The dumpling is made using a soft cotton lawn from Moda's Regent Street by Sentimental Studios.

These fabrics are reminiscent of Liberties, both in hand and print design.

Some more fabrics made it here too...

A new monthly installment from Pink Castle's Cotton and Steel club. This little selection took the scenic route via Canada, so was most welcome when it finally arrived!
I also scored 3 panels from a recent sale by Maze and Vale.

I had a quick look through what I had posted about in 2014.
The year started off with both continuing and new projects. Lots of stitching has been done on CCCQ and Noah and Matilda BOMs. I have, mostly, kept up. CCCQ will have only 5 or 6 more blocks to finish this year. For Noah and Matilda there are now only 2 1/2 blocks and the borders to finish and the top will be done!

I continued with Jane Pizar, making some of the blocks that surround the centre medallion. Mountmellic, the Quiltmania mystery quilt by Di Ford, was another project I started in 2014.

I made a quilt for my MIL using swoon blocks and started a Lone Star quilt.

The biggest news of 2014 was the birth of my grandson, the first grandchild for both sides of the family.

Lots of my stitching for this year was for him!! Knitting, crochet, a nappy bag, 3 quilts of varying sizes and a fabric book.

In my next post I will talk about my stitching plans for 2015!

Happy New Year!!!!