28 December 2011

Mystery Quilts

I guess the Mystery Quilt bug has bitten, as I have signed up to do another one at Just Takes 2!  I can't remember how I found it, presumably just jumping from blog to blog.  As one Orca Bay participant wrote, it's NOT knowing the final quilt that keeps the interest.

I do remember telling all my local quilting friends to look on-line at the amazing display of red and white quilts at the Armory last March, and really wished I could have seen it first-hand.  I'm so pleased with scrap look of my Orca Bay Mystery, that I think that will be how I will do this new mystery.  More detailed work, but over a year.  No, I'm not whining about Bonnie's weekly installments, especially as this is summer and Christmas time, meaning some time off work, and some time on sewing.... but I know I have a busy (work) year ahead.

Click on the red and white button on the left and consider joining in.

Have made 6 Ohio Star blocks, yay!  Only 52 to go!  The rest are in strips of three, so not too much to finish.  And I took to heart Bonnie's reluctance to pin when, if you are careful, you can butt up the seams and mostly they finish nicely.   And I am really pleased how flat these 6" blocks sit.  Please go and see what fun other quilters are having with this mystery at Bonnie's link-up.

21 December 2011

Catching up

After busy three weeks of housing my eldest child and her partner, they left at midnight on Sunday for his family home in The Netherlands.  This is going to be the quietest Christmas ever.  Without my Dad, my Mum in Brisbane visiting my sister and her family, one daughter in Sydney and one in Heemstede, this is the first time we are apart.  Thank goodness for Skype and cell (mobile) phones, just knowing one can contact them, without the expensive long-distance call charges of many years ago.

Orca Bay - parts 1 to 4 complete

I'm now on leave now for two weeks and having spent the last three evenings tidying up sewing room and catching up with Orca Bay (at least to part 4), I'm looking forward to doing part 5 tomorrow, especially as I now have the right ruler!

Please go and look at the progress being made by other quilters on this exciting mystery quilt on Quiltville's link up thingy.

14 December 2011

Orca Bay Part 4 progress

Some of the 77 finished triangles out 128 to be made

cutting squares from strips sewn together
 Managed to do 50 triangles on Sunday and 27 tonight, that's all the time available this week!  It's a slowish process, even when trying to take shortcuts by making fabric from strips.  But it's wonderful to see the progress by the other mystery-ians - please go to Bonnie's blog and see.

Happy sewing!

09 December 2011

Orca Bay Part 4!

As we are about 8 hours ahead of North Carolina, and not sure when Bonnie would post the next part, and being on leave for the day, I kept going to her site waiting with bated breath, will she or won't she use the reds! Eventually was making lunch and daughter casually mentions, it's the reds!  Well, better look at red scraps and strings, oh darn! hardly any; hmm,  daughter, says better get cutting Mam....

Starting pile of crumbs and strings
Didn't think was going to go very far, figuring out that will need at least double the fabric in the blue blocks.  Daughter has just finished piecing a quilt top and had used reds, kindly contributed all her leftovers, that sort of doubled the strings.

starting pile and daughters contribution
Cut, Mam, cut, she says... ok... and what fun!  The majority of my stash is made up of fat quarters, maybe slightly bigger.  All washed and obsessively folded the same way - I knew there would eventually be a reason for this!  I was able to selected from the red drawers, just unfold once, trim bits of ends along what would be the width and fold and return to drawers.  One or two ( really, when or why did I buy that!) ones got total chopped up.  Ended up doubling the pile.

Final pile of strings
In reading one of the blogs, the blogger mentioned the weight of her blue strings, so I thought that might be a good way of knowing how much more I might need if I use up this pile.  So out came the little used kitchen scale, and the pile weighs 774g.  Being able to travel sometimes and like to buy fabric at the destination, I know that about 7 metres of fabric weighs about 1kg.

Off to sew!  And just in time...

.... the postman delivered the rulers I'd ordered on-line from Fat Quarter Shop nine days ago, arrived intact - 2 sets, one for me and one for daughter.  They don't cost too much (7 for US$61.40, but it's worth buying more as the postage from USA to South Africa is steep (US$14).  And they had a discount coupon, so got 25% off price, but not postage!

08 December 2011

Orca Bay Progess

Yay!  Finished stitching all 224 blocks of Part 1, all nicely pressed, will spend tomorrow evening at quilt group trimming to size. I'm very happy with the way they sit flat. Have now progressed far enough that it WILL get finished!

06 December 2011

More Orca Bay

I've been trying very hard to only use scraps that have already been cut into usable sizes.  Orca Bay part 3 says make 350 half-square 2" sewn (1.5" finished) triangles...ok...  Started off by using 2'" squares, creating  one 2" block and one 1.25" extra block - that lasted until about 120 blocks.   Then used 2.5" squares, creating two 2" blocks - only about 60 of those.  Lastly used 3.5" squares, sewing around each side, and then cut diagonally in four, press, and trim up a little. (and I've lost count now...).

3.5" square cut on diagonals
I don't yet have the rulers that Bonnie is using, but soon!  Gosh, but I've struggled to get the photos where I wanted them, have now given up!

Please go back to Quiltville to see more!

2.5" square cut apart

3.5" square sewn on each side

All blue blocks done, about half of the rest, but lots of cutting and pressing ahead.

05 December 2011

Hot start to summer

Summer has arrived, it's hot and sticky, ugh.  New baby was spayed on Friday, feeling a bit sorry for herself but recovering nicely.  My sewing mate (aka my eldest child) is off to the UK in 3 weeks as her partner has a work contract there for 6/7 months (actually I'm green with envy, as they are going to be in my beloved Wales).  French classes over for the year, have signed up for the next course starting in January - the reading and listening slowly improving, but speaking leaves much to be desired.  With the holiday feeling, did sew up almost all of part 2 of Orca Bay (just 8 blocks to go), pulled out more fabric for parts 1 and 3...more pictures tomorrow!   For the blue string blocks, I am determined to use only strings and not cut from stash, might just make it!  Thanks to the advice from Candace to look at Polly's blog and from Solvi, I did use as many of my longer strings, making fabric and then cutting the blocks. but now down to crumbs, and back onto using the paper (which I had cut out 72 anyway!).

01 December 2011

Orca Bay part 2

Here are some of blocks of my start on part 2 of Orca Bay Mystery.  Was very pleased at the way they were turning out.  I did follow Bonnie's instructions this time, but not certain I like removing papers, so will try a few by just making fabric with scrap strings.
Part 2 blocks
Please go and look at all the other link-ups at Quiltville.

I have always been a compulsive reader, and to have found interesting quilt blogs to read is absolute heaven!   I suspect I am not the only one, but I don't always find the courage to leave a message!  Thank-you to all that take the time to write and share.

24 November 2011

Orca Bay Mystery

After humming and hawing since Friday last week when Bonnie Hunter put up the first part of her newest mystery quilt, I decided, yep, can do this!  The first part says 448 pairs of quarter square triangles, hence the indecision.  But after pulling out of my stash of ready cut 3-1/2" black and neutral squares and figuring out that I actually only need 112 pairs of squares, seems more manageable.  Have about 3/4 of that number ready cut, so pulled out some of my untouched fat quarters, and away we go.

3.5" squares and strips from tamed stash

fat quarters waiting to be cut

ONE hourglass block, and three in progress, only 223 to go!
Please go and look at all the other linked participants at quiltville

Three years ago I joined a weekly quilt group, and almost every Thursday evening I have taken a box of scraps left over from sporadic quilt making from the past 30-odd years and have been taming them, a la Bonnie Hunter, into usable sizes.  I have about another year to go to get through the rest of the unruly scraps!

20 October 2011


Gosh, it's been some time since I wrote anything.   I see the last blog was that I was looking forward to going to the South African National Quilt Festival. in July.. Well did that, and what a wonderful display of quilts and talent was on show.  Please look at the amazing pictures at SANQF.   I really got into the spirit of the theme - see photo of hair colouring on this blog - four months later, somewhat faded, but still making strangers smile at the craziness.

Sadly my Dad was taken to hospital during that time, and left us at the beginning of August, a very difficult time for whole family.  But we are slowly picking up the pieces.  I want to say feeling normal again, but I don't think one really does feel the same after losing a parent.  It's really put a damper on my wanting to quilt, but thank goodness for the friendship of the quilt groups I belong to, their support has been needed and welcomed.

My Mum is visiting my sister in Australia, and I am most envious of her being able to visit the Brisbane Quilt and Craft Fair

Daughter C is leaving next week, also to Australia, on a year's working holiday visa.

The best news for last - Daughter T, after working on a quilt for a family member, and making lots of sample blocks based on this blog has had two baby quilts commissioned by a friend.  Means I get to see a lot of her on weekends, as she still doesn't have space in her flat for sewing.

To all the quilters out there who blog their work and process - a big thank-you!

And almost forgot, we have a new baby....

20 June 2011

Supernova Progress

T's Supernova is looking great, all blocks complete, and one border on.  She manages to get here about once a week, so progress is slow.  But... I think the quilting bug has bitten...she has found a blog that will teach her some basics (never mind that I have library of quilting books!).  I think it is fresh modern fabrics that she is drawn to.  And she has hauled out about 30 fabrics, and has made the first block. 

Only a week to go to our National Quilt Festival!   I'm really looking forward to this event, especially meeting up with far-flung quilting friends.

13 June 2011


Posted by Picasa
Today is a good day.  Daughter here, working on last Supernova block.  We were a little short of last fabric, so had to patch together the leftovers, looks OK.   Sad news, we lost the best cat in the world last week - a beautiful tiny tabby-point Siamese, 14-years old caught a nasty virus which just chewed up her lungs in 3 day.  She purred to the very end.

Lucinda's Mug mat
Made a delightful Mug Rug for a friends' 60th birthday, using only cut scrap 1.5 inch squares:

02 May 2011

Lost things found

Great news - the lost block has been found.  So I've been let off having to make a block in the next quilt!  My dear Friend, who had taken all the blocks home with her, had accidentally tucked it away with another WIP.  She was very relieved at it's reappearance.

And, my parcel arrived from Leah Day's online shop,  10 weeks from mailing, and this was airmail!  Well, at least it came through Customs without pilferage.

Daughter and boyfriend moved without mishap. What a stunning view of Table Mountain they have from their lounge (note to self:  must take photos!).

She has been working on the Supernova blocks.  Showed her how to Free Motion Quilt - oh my goodness, does she have a steady eye and hand.  She neatly quilted up four 6" x 8" blocks that I will be turning into bags with zips (for South African National Quilt Festival goodie bags).  (ditto: photos!)

20 April 2011

Busy with life

Daughter and boyfriend have a new rental apartment, will be moving next week.  Sort of suggested she take the sewing machine there so as to catch up.  "Can't!" she says, "don't have an iron or an ironing board!"  Says has had no need!  A little questioning, and I discover that this is the same for most of her friends.  She says she thinks one friend may have an ironing board.   I love their confidence to defy convention!

19 April 2011

Things have been crazy lately.  I decided to repeat the second half of the beginners French at our local Alliance Francais, and to speed it up, taking the 3-hour twice a week class.  That's Monday and Wednesday evening used up.   So sewing has almost ground to a halt.

I needed to make another 40cm block for our group quilt, as the first disappeared!

Actually, I think this one is better sewn, and was quicker to make.

Posted by Picasa

05 April 2011

Supernova Quilt-Along

On Friday we finished all he cutting and put the first of the 36 initial blocks together.  So far, so good!

Her grandmother has kindly loaned her Bernina, so that we can both sew.  Tonight she is sewing!

29 March 2011

Supernova Quilt-Along

I am really excited because my adult elder daughter wants to make a quilt for her partners boyfriend's niece-to-be.  She made one quilt about 5 years ago and had not shown any interest since.  Now talks about getting a sewing machine, instead of sharing mine!  Anyway, I had seen a wonderful Quilt-Along, and had been thinking about doing it (but only thinking!), so her timing is spot on.  She came around this evening and we shopped the stash and started cutting! 

28 March 2011

More Sunflower progress

So, cut those in half as well, getting better.  Needed the tiny bits of yellow that were going to be cornerstones in the black print sashing,  so just added a triangle on the corners of each block.  The right side blocks are stitched, and left side need corners and stitching together.

My "design wall" - lol - a narrow piece of polystyrene (that barely takes two of the blocks) propped up on one of my fabric cupboards, in front of another sheet of polystyrene with another quilt in progress.

Sunflower quilt progress

So, cut the log cabin blocks diagonally and added triangles of dyed fabrics.

My whole Sunflower quilt

First blocks, which were supposed to be an off-centre log cabin, but the colour-ways of the bandana fabrics are too close in design and so the effect was lost.

25 March 2011

The Sunflower Fund is a charity that raises money to get donors for bone marrow transplants. Each year they sell bandanas for this.   My weekly quilt group gets some of the leftover fabrics, and we make quilts which are donated back to them.   Last year the fabrics were all white background with sunflowers and Mickey Mouse images.  Here is a picture of my block for one of them (taken with my cell-phone).  I've added similar "solid" colours as contrast.
It's about 40 cm square.

25 January 2011