31 December 2012

Close to the New Year!

The end of year rush into summer holidays and the festive season has eased up, so some sewing has been done! Yeah!  Have tried to work on 2 or 3 different projects each day, but progress is steady but slow.  One flimsy done this week (which doesn't yet count as a finish) - the kaleidoscope started in August in Bettie's class.  This quilt top is made from one fabric.
Kaleidoscope - a cropped image of the finished top

Detail of kaleidoscope

Original fabric!
Daughter T quilting (and playing iPad game at same time) on small quilt she put together last week.  Not an original, but worked from one of the patterns in this free eBook on Log Cabins.  Oh boy, can she sew accurately!  She made the setting triangles a little bigger, so the centre floats a bit.  It's about 21" square.  We tacked it on the frame first.

And today Bonnie released part 7 for the Easy Street mystery quilt - and I have completed it - as next (and I think final) part is out tomorrow!  What a wonderful relaxed mystery this has been.  After carefully selected each piece for each triangle so not to have duplicate fabrics in each section, I managed to reverse the order of one pile in the piecing, too bad that now there are two the same near each other, as there they will remain.  I guess these are probably the edge pieces of an on-point design, but still cannot work out what the centre will look like!

Easy Street parts in separate up-cycled fruit boxes (with about five other UFOs Projects edging into the picture!).

17 December 2012

UFO Progress

Today I managed to have the fourth UFO finish, one day ahead of the self-imposed dead-line! It is one of two quilt tops made from panel fabric I received at my quilt group's Christmas in July party (southern hemisphere winter!).


This was the first time of using the quilt frame as it should be, each layer on a separate roller.  The 6" throat space is a bit limiting, especially as I like the quilting to be a bigger scale so that the quilt remains softer.  It's really nice to have these simple tops to practice using the frame.  And this time gave my daughter T a chance to use it as well.  No prizes for the quilting on this one, but finished it is!

16 December 2012

Long weekend

Our local talk radio station (567CapeTalk) plays brilliant music on Saturdays and Sundays.  Put the radio on (turning it up real loud when a real favourite is played) and just sew, or cut.   And tomorrow is a public holiday here, so lots more sewing (or maybe all the Christmas shopping) can be done.

This week I managed to complete 4 blocks for Just Takes 2, and, whilst watching a couple of movies, did hours of applique, on one block but it's not yet complete!


It's marginally depressing to note that all the blocks and the final lay-out of this year long mystery quilt have been published!  The applique is holding me up, but I am loving each block, and will work on it steadily. The two ladies, that have put this together did a marvellous job.

But quite pleased that I'm totally up to date with Easy Street.  This is part four done:

Look at how high a pile of 145 3.5" blocks stands... 2" !!

Now go and look what all the other quilters have blogged about their progress so far.  And if you are doing this mystery - link up, and if you don't have a blog - start one!

10 December 2012

Keeping up!

Last Thursday  I drove from Cape Town to Hermanus, about 2 hours away, to have our final Guild Committee meeting for the year, and our Christmas lunch.  This was one of the home-made desserts!  A divine cheesecake topped with jelly and fresh fruit - it tasted even better.

I am so glad that I am keeping up with Bonnie's mystery this year.  These are all the 64 3.5" square blocks from part 3, finished sewing this evening - I do like them.  I was very pleased that I was able to find about 50 of the purples squares in the box of 2" squares, so they are very scrappy.  Turquoise is not a colour of which I have a huge range, so have 3-5 triangles of each fabric.  After pressing part one on Thursday evening and checking size, found I had to unsew about 30, but finished re-doing those as well tonight.  Please go and see what the other participants in Bonnie's mystery have blogged (157 of them at close to midnight here, but USA has hours to go for today!).

04 December 2012

3rd Finish!

In spite of my pessimism yesterday, I did have an on-time finish!  My Button Jar Project.  Look at these fun things.

About 5 weeks ago we had a call from my husband's best friend.  He was in the process of assisting his 91-year old mother to settle in care in a retirement village, and needed to clear out her flat.  He asked if I would take any of her sewing things.  Her niece had been the recipient of her sewing and over-lock machines, but I knew that even if there was nothing I could use, I would be able to find a good home for whatever was there (I was able to take dozens of patterns, metres of polyester fabrics and partly sewn garments to a local self-help organization).  All her life she had sewed her own clothes (but was never a quilter!), and she had, amongst other things, the most amazing collection of buttons, all neatly sorted in colours.  (I recognize lots of them from the clothing manufacturing company my husband had but closed over 12 years ago!) I had just that week been looking for a pile of buttons to make a pincushion jar as gifts for a group of quilting ladies I will be lunching with on Thursday.

I made the tops from scraps, stitched down on a circle (using the jar lid as a template) of needle-punch batting, .  Trimmed the circle with a seam allowance.  Stitched a strip of plain bias to the circle.  Cut a piece of card 3/4" and glued the bias strip to give the height.   Cut about 7-8 circles of batting,pushed inside, some glue on edge of jar lid and ease in.  Don't think these have a long durability factor.  Almost want to keep them as the colours together are fun.  I scooped up a jar of buttons, then sorting and layering from dark to light for each jar (that took almost as long as putting the tops together!)

This was the best up-cycling ever!

03 December 2012

Sewing update

Oh dear, tomorrow is my self-imposed deadline for the 3rd finish! Not happening!  I wonder why?  It could be that I have been sewing, but mostly not on Quilts in Progress.  Spent most of the weekend work working, so little time for sewing.  Three evenings out last week also didn't help. (No P, I am not going to another wine tasting, I barely like wine and it definitely doesn't like me - something in it makes me sneeze and congest up, no real fun.)     But I have found some time for Easy Street - Part 2  - I thought I had cut out all the wings, but am about 7 or 8 short, but cut way too many geese!  Have sewn what I have cut, again just need to press (plus Part 1) and trim the dog-ears.  Our SA National Quilt Festival is in Bloemfontein in July 2013, and the Guild organizing it produced some promotional fridge magnets.  I've never used a guide like this before, normally eyeballing the cut edge whilst sewing;  the guide sort of worked.

Easy Street Part 2 cuttings

Easy Street Part 2 chain piecing

Feeding second goose wing under needle
Easy Street - 2 complete  geese - lots more to go

29 November 2012

Some sewing!

Have had some time to sew this week - yeah!   First up, have sewn all the 192 4-patch 3.5" blocks for Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville Mystery - Easy Street (still need to press about half!).  No, it's not a monochrome photo, the fabrics are greys and white with black prints, and I do like them.  Please go and see what over 200 other quilters have linked to at Quiltville!
And these are the fabrics I chose for this mystery.  I have selected most from my collection, but I was a bit short of the black on white prints - now remedied!

Had some progress with other projects, not quite complete finishes just yet, but still, some progresses. And before showing these pictures, here is shot of the fabrics daughter T bought at a quilt shop in Haarlem, wishing I was with her!

I finished sewing all the easy pineapple blocks together, here draped over the frame:

 This is my block to be added to the Table Mountain Quilters' group quilt, out of Sunflower Fund bandana left-over fabrics.  It is paper-based, so that all the blocks should be the same size.  The printing on the fabrics include the word "Hope" in most, if not all, the eleven official languages of South Africa:

And because the pineapple blocks no longer on the design "wall", now have laid out the kaleidoscope blocks made in September in the workshop with Bettie van Zyl of Hermanus.  It was a 2-day class, but could only attend the first day... so although saw some of Bettie's quilts, am now taking wild guesses at how the layout should be approached - just what looks appealing is probably best:

23 November 2012

Itching to sew

After 2 weeks of "sorting out", and settling in family, and rushing the tax dead-line (midnight tonight) for colleagues and family (only one more return to complete!)  (next year, everyone is doing their own - yeah, right, LOL), I am absolutely raring to sew.   Did get about and hour and half of hand-sewing last night at Table Mountain group, but need more time behind machine.

Bonnie Hunter has put up the first part of this year's mystery - and she did say it would be a little simpler than last year - but part one is 192 4-patches - yeah! - an easy start and carefree sewing!

T wants to go look at fabrics tomorrow to make some skirts - she saw one made from Tumbler Blocks - should be interesting.  Of course her Mum has to go with her - hope she decides quickly!

13 November 2012

Slow progress

Not much to show this week, have tried to work on a few things, but really nothing worth photographing.  Have sewn a few more Pineapple blocks together, prepped more Just Take 2 blocks.  There has been a flurry of "sorting out"as my older daughter and partner will be here tomorrow from the UK, staying with us for maybe 3 or 4 months.   Stitched the log-cabin block for a group quilt, but my mother has it as a guide to do hers.  Pictures soon!

04 November 2012

Another one done

Scrappy star quilting done!  The 15 centre blocks were thanks to the instructions at  Block Lotto - May 2012 block.  Some of them were way too wonky, but got used nevertheless.  I've made a few of their blocks for fun, but have yet to participate in the lotto!   Playing with the new frame I quilted it a bit more densely then usual, and it is less cuddly than I would prefer.

29 October 2012

One down, many to go

My list (yes, I have to have a list) for tonight included getting one quilt laid up on the frame ready to quilt.   Hah!  Not only put on the frame, but quilting done!  (Means the other 6 things didn't get done!)
 Most of the quilts I've made are put together by laying batting, back face up and top face down, smoothing out each layer well, pin about 6" all around edge, sew along edge 1cm in, leaving a 8-10" gap (for turning).  Trim the batting very close to stitch lines, trim back to match top, turn inside out.  Reach in and fold the corners nicely, pin the opening closed, and top stitch 0.5cm from edge.  (The metric is how I learned to do it!)  I normally then smooth out and pin-baste, then machine quilt, but not very densely, just enough to make it secure.  This quilt was already to do the first sewing, so went ahead.  Then pinned it to the leader fabrics on the frame.  All free-motion quilting.  Mostly was brilliant fun to do, stitches in places a little big, but that will improve next time, but the tricky part was near the edge, as machine kept bumping up against the side tension clamps, so just removed them and stitched slowly-ish.
One draw-back I now realize is that although it is a big frame, the Pfaff 1200 still only allows about 6" of quilting at  a time, and I am glad I laid it length-ways.
Charity quilt #6 - finished - 38" x 49"

28 October 2012

Quilt frame continued

In between preparing (ie taking out the stored stuff) younger daughter's bedroom for her return and collecting her from the airport today, I managed to get the leader fabrics on the rails of the quilt frame.  I also tried out the "new" machine, it sews fine, slightly noisier than the older one.  Have placed it on the frame... just got to think what to use to test it, seeing it is now nearly 10 pm!

View of sewing room from front hallway through french doors
View of sewing room taken through glassed-up serving hatch into what used to be our dining room

The process of assembling the frame yesterday was a curious business.  It came with a DVD, but no installation manual, and seller said watch the DVD at least twice.  Ok....  the video presumes you have the manual, so I spent about 3 hours watching, stopping, making notes and photographing laptop screen, plug phone in and extract photo, add to own document, which worked brilliantly (could not take a Print Screen, and because I still use Win XP, no snipping tool, and a snipping tool I found on-line didn't work either).  I am a firm believer in reading manuals, so not having one was frustrating.

Here are some of the photos!

Did also cut out the corner and setting triangles for the pineapple block quilt, and started to stitch the blocks in rows.

And sweetheart daughter brought me a beautiful piece of Australian print fabric she bought in Cairns about six months ago, and has kept for me until she came home.

Oh dear, just remembered that the pictures were again just snapped and uploaded - will try to remember to edit first next time!

And one last picture of the frame with the leader fabrics (which took about 90 mins to fit!) and the machine in place.

27 October 2012

Quilt Frame

Fetched the new to me quilt frame (a demo model from a local quilt shop closing up) on Thursday, and have spent the better part of today assembling it.  It's a bit bigger than I thought.  Yes, I knew it had a 1m x 4 m footprint, but it has filled up the last of the floor space in my sewing room.  it's an Imperial Quilting Frame, I think made by Grace & Co.  I have one quilt that needs this 120" wide king-size frame, and when that's done will re-assemble it to half the size (But then will have the problem of storing the extra bits!)  Tomorrow some pictures and a try out with the demo Grand Quilter Hobby 1200 bought with it.  The purchase of a second machine was from the thought that I love piecing with the second-hand one I got last July and don't want to move it back and forth from frame to table so took the opportunity to buy the demo one.  Hope that both work!  Will have to move things around for it.  P not at all happy about it.   Hope it works!

24 October 2012

Better pictures

For the longest time I've wondered why the photos on my blog are somewhat lacking visually.  My thought was that maybe I need a better camera than the one on my phone (that may be true of course), but doh, yesterday the penny dropped.... don't just upload the photo, edit it first!   I use Picasa to shrink the pictures so they open quickly, but hadn't thought to use it to improve and crop before uploading.  So here is the first go at this, showing both an original (as I would have usually used) and an edited one. Hmmm... I like seeing pictures with cutting mat scales.  This block is 15.5" square.  I do know that daylight and perhaps a tripod would improve things further.

Another editing attempt, in which I didn't fiddle quite so much: