13 June 2018

June sewing and meet my Grandson

From the left:  two of the Noonlight blocks (waiting for all their mates flying in from the Block Lotto makers), 26 blocks for the Scrappy Block Project (using strings and keeping block corners 90-deg, but whatever size the strings dictate),  three Squared Away (turquoise/teal,not quite blue, not quite green, RSC colour for June), 5 of the biggest KKK blocks (finish at 6-inches).  This might be the last of the sewing for a few weeks, because....

  ...counting the days until there will be lots of hugs for E!   6000 miles travel - just to get there!

05 June 2018

29 May 2018

Project updates

I've been managing to sew almost every day, even if only for a few minutes, and had a very productive quilters retreat this past weekend.  These photos were taken two weeks ago of various blocks made for different projects.

These are my Noon Light Block Lotto blocks for April, which I am lucky to have won, so will get another 30 blocks, very excited about this, especially as I have started to receive them.

These are my Rail Variation Block Lotto blocks for May.

A shot of various blocks decorating my flannel boards. Some pink blocks for May.  The green bordered blocks are a newish long-term project - last month I picked seven interesting yellow scraps and bordered them with green string scraps, this month I used nine pink centres, yellow first border, and green second border.  Next and following months will start the centre with a new colour and continue the pattern - aiming to get the blocks to between 6 and 8 inches.

These are the result of a workshop about a year ago - working with 3/4 and 1 inch strips, they are so cute, but very time consuming!  Some will end up like the 6-inch "bull's-eye" blocks above, but most will be 1.5"-inches.  Long way to go still!

 Preparing for the past weekend - all ready in piles to be sewn together.  I used Liberty prints for these fun mystery blocks. 

18 April 2018

It's raining!

And blowing like mad... let's hope that this continues this coming winter!

This is the view from my upstairs office window..can't see the mountain as the cloud and rain are obscuring it.  (I have to stand up to see out!)

Yesterday I was playing with some block layouts for future sewing.  They are a bit wrinkly and wouldn't stay on the wall so laid them out on my bed, with the sun streaming through the shutters:

08 April 2018

Lots of catch up pictures

Lots of things have happened in the past month or so.  A lovely garden tea to celebrate my mother, a brand-new first grandchild, a visit to welcome him, a ski holiday, and some sewing!

Our family and a few friends sharing memories of my mother under the trees in the tea garden on a nearby grape and rose farm.  They had put the roses on the table for us.

Three days later, a whirlwind visit to Wales to see my daughter T, and her new-born son, E.  First, one night in London with my son M - these daffodils growing in the pavement outside his flat:

Then a six-hour drive to Cardiff to arrive only an hour after they got home from the Maternity Unit!  M and I camped out on the couches in their tiny 1-bed flat.

 And the first quilt for E, originally he was referred to as "Pickle".  It's been a long time since I free-motion quilted anything, but this called for it, rather than being frame-quilted.  Or rather the thought (under pressure) of clearing all the stuff off and from under the frame to pull the frame out just seemed overwhelming.  Back is brushed cotton (flannel).

Just had four days with them, as a prior booked family ski holiday couldn't be missed.  This is view out of the plane window as it's coming in to land at Tarbes/Lourdes airport - those are the Pyrenees  Mountains covered in snow in the background:

And some skiing and snow hiking took place:

 The view from the apartment window in Bareges, it's snowing out there:

 The Tour de France comes this way in summer, a lovely day for skiing:

Morning coffee with chocolate macaron and pistachio tart decorated with fresh myrtille berries with my daughter, C:

And on to some sewing...  
Six Block Lotto blocks for February, where we had to take small orphan blocks and dress them up to 9-inch square:

 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler (RSC) for February.  Same block in two sizes and a couple of wonky windmills from the left-overs.

 A sort of summary of purple February and green March blocks created from RSC inspired colours.  The top three green propeller-like blocks are the Block Lotto ones.  The three green ones underneath are the RSC March sampler blocks, in three sizes.  As purple sort of was about a quarter of my pre-cut scraps I was able to churn out loads of blocks.  Cut green scraps were decidedly less in number. For this year I am still trying to use only the scraps that have been trimmed and sorted, working well so far!

 95 (purple) and 93 (green) 3" 9-patches (for Jack's Chain); 29 and 14 short 9-patches from left-over ends of strip piecing; 35 and 4 5-piece mono slabs 10"x 4"; 23 and 3 8" blocks with 4-patch centres; 101 and 22 3" light/dark squares; 27 and 2 6" economy blocks; and a handful of other odd purple or green blocks

01 March 2018

Losing Our Mum

Well February came and went, although plenty of sewing, not much picture taking.  (I can see how lousy my stress levels are, in that I had to correct the spelling of every one of the words in that first sentence!)

I had planned to post yesterday being the end of February, but life does not run in straight lines.

Yesterday, the body of my lovely Mum finally gave up on her.  She lived with the aftermath of a stroke three and half years ago, right-side total paralysis and barely able to speak, but with her mind in a state that she was still able to recall everything that was important to her.  For the past week she was feeling unwell and stayed in bed, choosing (I think) not to eat or drink much, and yesterday morning she left us, on sadly what would have been my Dad's 85th birthday.   I had been recently been reading out loud to her Bill Bryson's book about Britain, and we had been laughing and crying over his amazing turns of phrase about the quirkiness of Britian and the British people.  She had come reluctantly to Africa with my Dad, bringing four children and a dog, and she really missed her home country of Wales, her two brothers and her extensive family.  Oh Mam, we all love you.

Instead of my pictures, here are a few of the quilts she made.  Although she had always knitted and sewed our clothes as children, her quilt sewing took off in earnest after losing my Dad.  She loved to do art and craft things, and quilting filled a gap for her.


30 January 2018

January end

It's drizzling outside, but not enough to even wet the ground.  Just enough to cool things down a bit, to 25C from yesterday's 37C.  I hope we get the winter rain really early this year and lots of it.  Our dams are pretty near to empty and water-saving is just about the only topic of conversation at the moment here in Cape Town.  We are a city of 4 million people and most are worried about what to do when the taps are dry.  I even saw a few business-men, who normally wouldn't frequent the local plastic shop, worriedly buying containers for collecting water.

I have had a good start to 2018, sewing-wise!  On Friday, less than a week after a fun class of Playing with Stripes, I finished piecing together a free-form mash-up of various sized blocks, basically from a 1.5m piece of striped fabric.   Only one wonky bit, which is fixable. Quite happy with this cot-size top.  It's the next to be quilted.

Then finished the Bonnie Hunter Mystery, On Ringo Lake, about 60" x 72".  Well, I count a top to be finished, for now!  Used 32 of the 50 blocks, so will make another small quilt with all the spare parts.  Or I might finish piecing last year's one!   Click here to go and see the final link-up with other mystery participants!

And besides making three Block Lotto blocks, the best part of January was sewing along under the driving force of the 2018 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I think that this is the first month that I have managed to sew all the pre-cut sizes I store, in the colour of the month, Light Blue.  The haul includes:  45 x 3" nine-patches for Jack's Chain (I think this will be a long-term project),  four Squared Away blocks (2018 project - only use pre-cuts!) from Soscrappy.  Other bits sewn were piles of five by 2.5" x 4.5" bricks into graduated monochrome blocks, lots of pairs of light and medium 2" x 3.5" bricks into squares, and a few double 4-patches using 2" and 3.5"" squares (which missed the photo!), about a dozen 2" wonky windmills (also missed the photo) and three wonky nine-patches from the short bits. 

02 January 2018

Summer holiday staycation sewing

Some sewing on Bonnie's Mystery.  This was taken lunch time yesterday:  some blocks made, and some layouts that I had thought might be used.

And, I am very happy to write, Sophie has resumed the Block Lotto.  These are my three blocks for January and I enjoyed making them.  They are 9.5" now, to finish at 9". Curiously I initially thought the instructions were complicated, mainly as I did not notice the small white areas in the pattern picture!  But once the pieces were cut the instructions become very clear!

31 December 2017

End of 2017 and a Crazy Idea for 2018

Well, as 2018 will be a milestone year for me and, seeing as I am drowning in started projects, I want to see if I can finish a lot of them in this year.  (I was going to write the number...but am back-pedalling already!)

In theory I will have more time than before.  The amazing school at which I worked part-time for 10 years in accounts has been acquired by a larger and growing school group and they, sensibly, have centralised accounting.  There may have been a position for me had I been interested but it would probably be a full-time commitment.  I have mixed feelings, sad to eventually no longer be formally involved, but happy for the school, and I am sure I will find excuses to visit.  Still have the other day job, but will have more quilting time!

Some projects are fairly close to being finished, and I am sure to start more, and I have an even bigger pile of unstarted projects (mostly just on scraps of paper as I think of them!)  I think it will be self-defeating to commit to finish one a week, so will work on groups of them in relays...all will have some progress at least.

I was going to list the projects with pictures, progress, next steps, etc, but think I might be embarrassed by the list.  If I find some time I'll add it in a separate tab.

First, the results of recent holiday sewing.  These are left over blocks from a quilt group mystery we did earlier this year.  I wanted to clear the design wall and not have another pile of orphan blocks.  It might be used on the back of this project.  The other 192 blocks are carefully clipped together in sets waiting for the urge to sew them.  This mystery used a new-to-me way of making the half-square triangles, and I used it again in the mystery below!

Then these are all the blocks from Bonnie Hunter's mystery, eagerly awaiting the next part of instructions:

 Followed by all the bonus half-square triangles, pressed and dog-ears trimmed:

May you have a peaceful New Year!

19 December 2017

Mystery Quilt Progress

All the cutting done, parts 1 and  2 sewn, half of part 3 and a test sample of part 4.  And all the bonus triangles stitched into squares!   I took them to my Thursday evening group and pressed them there... it took the better part of two evenings!  And now no meetings till mid January...boring bit will be done at home!  For part 1 I had almost enough squares in my filing system (just short of 12 brown squares) to not use strips.  I don't have much in brown, but making do!

Go and see what other Mystery participants have done so far, at a link up with Bonnie's Monday share of On Ringo Lake.

Our very special Siamese cat was called Ringo, sadly she succumbed to a very nasty feline virus some years ago.   Daughter C insisted on a cremation...and her remains are in a tiny urn, with her name, on the mantlepiece.

Go Sew!

17 December 2017

Emerging from a blogging slumber

It has been five months in which I did not make the time to blog.  Guilt at not finishing much might have played had a big part.   Some sewing was done in this time, but very few photos taken.  So this is a catch-up post, and a promise to myself to do better.   I am having fun trying out things on a new smart phone (the last one was a non-android smartish-phone)... hope that this will facilitate more posts.  All these photos taken with old phone.

As daughter C decided to go visit her love in Australia, I HAD to finish the two quilts for my Grand-Nephews, so she could take them with her (instead of worrying about the postal service.)  The one for C (born at the beginning of 2017) was a top, and the one for L (born November, the day after she arrived in Aus) was just in the thinking stage when she booked the trip.    The squares on both are mostly novelty prints which, I am glad to say, just about used up all I had.    I couldn't post pictures, as I wanted them to be a surprise.  Both are about 50" x 70".
C's quilt
Back of C's quilt
L's quilt

Back of L's quilt
And with the happy news of daughter T expecting her first-born/my first-grand next March I will have to sew some more!  Although she seems to finishing more quilts than me...at the moment!

I did do some knitting for my grand-niece.  Her name is Grace; my sister, her grand-mother, started a school called Blue Moon Montessori School.  How could I not use this yarn for a cardigan for her!  Except the dye ran when she washed it with all the white baby stuff..some now a pale shade of pink!   Pattern thanks to Ruth .   Have made one in blue for T, pictures only when buttons added!

And some other bits of sewing.  The start of using up 1.5" strips, off to a shaky start, but will give the construction some more thought.  This is one of the RSC projects.

And this is what you do with 1-1.25" wonky bonus half-square triangles.  Sew four together to make a wonky windmill.  Add random purple strings.  Add a variety of 2-2.5" greens and trim to 5".  All good to this point.   Then don't sew into groups of four-with-a-border and groups of four-with-sashings... you get two different size blocks!   Eventually added just six strips of purple to get it all fitting together.  Top done!  But this has been over a long time, even had daughter C sew some of the windmills.  This was her first time sewing anything like this, and as she says, her last!

Until next time!

06 July 2017

Plans for Quarter 3

For this quarter I would like to finish all of my projects.  Seriously?  No chance!
Linking up with one of the organisers, Cut & Alter: Q3 FAL Link-up  

So I will limit myself to finishing at least this one, C's baby quilt:

I will work on some others, just to keep them moving along:

This watercolour needs to quilting and bound.

Add more of the flowers, on at least three Thursday evenings each month:

These are part of my growing store of small wonky windmill blocks, in an wide variety of colours and sizes.  They are pieced as leaders and enders. When the 2-litre container is full, will add borders to each of them.  That's the plan so far!  Could take a long time!

Continue to make these fun blocks, but my stock of 2-inch squares might need some replenishment!

27 June 2017

Catch up report

Lots of things to talk about... some sewing, a little baby, some life.   Have felt very otherwise of late, so totally short on pictures!   Couldn't not have pictures, so just some blurry-indoor-at-night ones!

A weekend quilt retreat does wonders for the soul, and helps to jump ahead with languishing projects!   Although almost a month ago now, the good feeling remains.   At the retreat, I firstly added the only border to the orphan block quilt and pieced a back for it, and gladly handed it to another quilter to had volunteered to finish it.   Then moved on to getting the centre of Baby C's quilt stitched (and have since added it's only border).  Ready to be quilted.

Half of C's quilt
 Added the narrow inner border and the outer border to Allietare. Spent the last bit of time stitching up the last of the En Provence blocks - have gone totally off the project.

Allietare - ready to be quilted....
 All of that gave me the impetus to finish Red Centre - yay, one finish for this quarter.  (Go and see what other 2017 FALs have happened, at Mrs Sew & Sow).  It is the comforter for the care bed in the preschool classroom (where I work admin some afternoons).

Red Centre - in situ
This is the bed for a preschooler who needs a rest, but not at floor level... see the stairs up to it.
Red Centre being held up by a five-year-old

Back of Red Centre

Quilting detail on back of Red Centre

Every Thursday evening at the Quilt Group I have two to three hours to "do something" .... and this is usually to either trim up any off-cuts and left-overs from finished projects, or hand sew the Lifelong Hexie or prep something.  (Plus there is always Tea Time.)  A couple of weeks ago I decided to start sorting the boxes of trimmed squares, rectangles and strips into colours... not very exciting!   (Took one of the boxes with me when visiting my Mum, and she seemed to enjoy sorting and looking at the fabrics, so will do the rest with her.  We think she might have had another small TIA recently as she has slowed down noticably in the last few weeks. (That was two weeks ago, and she has perked up amazingly!)

But the week after sorting the 2-inch squares, an offer of a quilt along by one of the bloggers I read using 2-inch squares was too good to pass-up.   So this is what I have produced so far, and have only had to cut about half a dozen orange squares, plus lots of greens and purples for the 5th block (not finished yet).  There are 20 15-inch blocks in the series, but might mix things up by making some with 1.5-inch and 2.5-inch squares.

In amongst all this my niece had a baby girl bestowed with the delightful name of Grace - well done to Mum, Dad, Nana Jacky (my sister).  Just need to remember what fabrics she wanted for the baby quilt....!  She promises to come around and choose again!