27 December 2013

Step 4...

Some serious sewing was achieved this week - yes it does help to be on holiday from work.

Four blocks for the Block Lotto for December.  We got a sneak peak at January's blocks and I needed to go buy some white fabric!  Bought a few metres, as I have decided that 2014 is the Year of the Quilt Famine.

My mother was here today and whilst she was sewing on he last border of her log cabin quilt I fixed a pair of C's jeans.  We then laid up the quilt, envelope style, ready for her to sew at home.

 And this is my tally for the Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt (and although there were hours of sewing, the pile seems the same as a week ago!):

All cutting done!
Part One:  371 out  of 380
Part Two:   42 out of 244
Part Three:   97 out of 305
Part Four:  165 out of 300
Plenty sewing ahead!

I love the four-patch blocks, and I think the triangle blocks will create something interesting in the quilt.
Go and look at all the other link-ups on Bonnie's Quiltville blog. There were 143 link-ups at the time of this post.


19 December 2013

Step 1, 2, 3...

It was a public holiday here on Monday, our Day of Reconciliation, so some solid sewing and cutting prevailed.  The lure of Celtic Solstice called, so managed to sew all the neutral corners on one side of part two, and then cut out all of Part 3.    I'm sure I've cut out more than is needed!  I will wait to the final reveal, but I think I am going to turn this into 2 or 3 smaller quilts - I can't see I really have a need for a 111" x 111" quilt (2.84m x 2.84m).  Especially after seeing how successful other quilters were last year by taking units from Easy Street and making it smaller to suit them.  Go and see what other Solstice creators are doing on Bonnie's link-up.  Last day at work tomorrow, yay! Holidays, yay!

My revised recording :
Part One, presuming you've managed to sew all the units, was:
  Number of pieces:  1140
  Number of units:  380  (my tally: 22)

Part Two: 
  Number of pieces:  2604
  Number of units:  624 (my tally: 23)

And a running total after Part Three: 
  Number of pieces:  3092 
  Number of units:  929 (my tally: 243, with some half completed ones!

(Plus 4 Split Nine Patch blocks!)

We had a work staff lunch last Friday at Forester's Arms and this was the floor of the ladies room, black and white tiles:

My daughter T  has made a couple of baby quilts.  She tells me she can't wait to come home (just for 2-3 weeks in January) to box up and take back to Wales her fabrics that are stored here.  She has been wanting to make more quilts, but reluctant to buy more fabric knowing what's here!

10 December 2013

Progress on the Mystery Quilt

I finally decided that if I want to do this mystery quilt, then I must cut out all the pieces as soon as I can after the part is released, even if the sewing gets done later!  I cut down the 3.5" yellow strips into 2" and 1.5" strips.  I thought of cutting new 2" strips for the squares, but was worried that I might be short if need larger pieces of the yellow later.   Go and see how far the other participants have go on Bonnie's link-up

Here is the visual progress of what little has been sewn so far:

I love the mathematics of quilts, so for those who have similar leanings, my calculations of how far we've gone after Part One, presuming you've managed to sew all the units, was:  27.75%
  Number of pieces:  1140
  Number of units:  380  (my tally: 22)

And a running total after Part Two:  63.4%  45.6%
  Number of pieces:  2604
  Number of units:  868 624 (my tally: 23)

Here are all my pieces cut out, waiting  for solid sewing time!

My mother's latest completed quilt top - I love her tenacity in sewing all those narrow strips!  New to quilting only last year and with 3 or 4 completed tops the next thing is for us to get together for a series of lessons on finishing them - thank goodness for summer holidays rushing up soon!  In the past month she has had two successful cataract ops and is amazed at what more she can see!

09 December 2013

Celtic Solstice Part2

So, Bonnie releases part 2 of her latest mystery, and it calls for: the LARGE quilt cut: 488 2” X 3-1/2” green rectangles, 976 2” neutral squares, 976 2" yellow/gold squares, and I go, "gulp, OK... maybe I'll just watch, and not continue...".  Mulled over it for a bit,and thought if I don't cut ANY pieces out before the Monday morning link-up, I might never get to it.  So bit the bullet last night and after some thought, wondered if there might be a typo, so just cut enough squares to match the 488 rectangles, thinking that I can cut more later if needed.  Yay!  Didn't think to check yesterday, but Yes, others had picked up the typos, and there had already been a correction to the instructions:  only 488 of each of neutral and yellow squares needed (at this point anyway!!).  Haven't sewn any of them, that still awaits!

Yesterday also another Skype quilt lesson for my daughter in winter-bound Cardiff - this time reminding her of the finer points of laying up a quilt pillowcase method. She has no large table space in her flat, so it's laid out on the floor, and she props up her ipad on the floor so I can see what she's doing!

06 December 2013

An emotional day

Just before going to bed last night I heard the news that Madiba had died.  Although today is a sad day, the radio and  the web are full of amazing warm stories about this really great man.   I'm sure there is yet more on TV and in the newspapers.  It still overwhelms me how, even after imprisonment of twenty-seven years for his beliefs, he so loved this country and it's peoples, that he remained humble and gentle to the end.  My heart goes out to his family at this time of loss.

03 December 2013

Mystery started....sort of!

At the end of October Bonnie Hunter blogged the requirements for this year's Mystery Quilt - Celtic Solstice.  I had been waiting in anticipation for it for ages, and although I liked the colours she was using, I thought I wanted to do them a little differently (trying to link South African flag and/or Welsh colours, as yes they are also Celts!), and after agonizing over it for the past month, finally wimped out and gave in to doing the colours suggested.  The first part of the mystery was blogged on Friday, so if I was to make any headway, I really needed to pull out some fabrics.  I had decided that I would use only fabrics from my collection.

The first part needs 3.5" strips of neutrals, oranges and blues.  I picked out all the ones already cut, and some 3.5" squares plus any greens and yellows, and, because I just looked at my washed out print of the instructions, thought we were working with yellow (instead of orange), so went gaily ahead and cut more 3.5" strips of yellows... I do hope we get to use them!  Thank goodness I hadn't sub-cut any of them.  It means my yellows might be a bit scarce if we need larger pieces later on, too bad!!

Tomorrow I hope to cut some of the blues and neutrals to add to the strips.  I like to include as many of each particular colour as I can straight away so that there is an even spread of the variety.  I don't think I will get a chance to sew until Saturday.   So this is how far I got tonight:

Now go over to the link-up on Bonnie's site and see what all the other passionate quilters are writing about their progress!

26 November 2013

A little sewing...

(Yes, there were some other pictures here sent straight from my phone, but removed them as the orientation was off!  I had been struggling to get the photos from phone to laptop, but suddenly it worked!)

Four blocks for November Block Lotto:

Leader and ender blocks, 12 completed so far, and I  really like how they look together.  It took more time to select the pieces from the jumbled up 2.5" squares collection than to sew the block - but it was something to do on a couple of Thursday evenings at the quilt group!  Trying to use dark and mediums, have about another 50 sets ready to sew.

This is the centre of the baby quilt.  Have cut the borders and selected a backing.

I saw an advert for this treadle Singer, was told by the antique dealer that it was about 80 years old, but on looking up the serial number is was, like me, born in the 1950's, and I know I'm a long way from 80!  He said it belonged to his +90-year-old mother's cousin who had it from new, and was sewing on it until very recently.  It turned beautifully smoothly.  Maybe I'll go back and see if it is still there!

01 November 2013

October Block Lotto

The night before last I realised it would be my last chance to make and upload the blocks for October Block Lotto, so these are what I created.   I was bowled over when I looked at their blog this morning to see I was one of the 3 winners!  I am delighted as they are really fun blocks.  Each one is 9.5" x 6.5"

Oak Leaf Block - October 2013

27 October 2013

Overdue photos

My goodness, according to the dates on the folders, it's over a month since I last transferred any photos from my phone to the laptop!  Not that I've taken many pictures as the phone is my disliked technology at the moment - it was mixing up the senders of SMS/texts that I was receiving, so was disinclined to use it.  Think I've finally sorted it out.

First, an update on the Split 9 Patch challenge - have made all of 5 blocks so far, but have quite a few sets ready for when I the crazy sewing urge kicks in again (sooooon).  I am really pleased how these are turning out! And this should make a good reduction to the full boxes of 2.5" squares and strips.

Next, an update on one of the scrap quilts that are being made jointly by my Mum and me.  This is a possible layout, with a close-up of a couple of blocks. Also very pleasing.

And on the way to the monthly quilt group meeting last Saturday I saw this beautiful vibrant verge of spring flowers, so had to stop the car and take a photo, and as usual no time to spare, so just snapped a photo through the windscreen!  But I've now found out how to touch up photos in Picasa as there was litter in front of it that I hadn't noticed!  Yeah! technology!

Last Sunday went through my box of 4.5" squares and pulled out any novelty and close to novelty prints to make an I-Spy type quilt for a surprise baby quilt (don't think recipient reads this blog, but one never knows!). There were only a handful of squares left after this- yay!  I have a couple on months in hand to finish it!  Yesterday I laid* them out on some batting draped over the frame, and started sewing the blocks into 4-patches.  
*as have been doing some physical exercise lately to aid the recently started better eating plan, and was a bit too sore to bend over and use my design floor.

And lastly, I saw a link to a charity that makes up knitted blankets, and decided that would be a good use some of the wool collection I seem to have amassed, knitting during TV-watching time.  They ask for 20 cm (8 inch) squares with long ends left on.  These are few from 100% wool I bought in Australia and although supposed to be double-knit (Aussies call it 8-ply) it is a little thick for baby jerseys.  These are the first four blocks, three knitted diagonally (the purply one with stocking stitch and reversed stocking stitch worked in a square design). the orangy centre one was the leftovers, and finished with crochet to make the size right.  The fun is changing the design often, so not to get too bored.

23 October 2013

All quiet here

After the hectic month before, very little sewing has been done over the past month.  Some nice fabrics bought though, including some local ones from African Sky!

Today the fabric requirements for Bonnie Hunter's new year-end mystery "Celtic Solstice" were revealed.  Interesting colour combination!  We have to wait until 29 Nov to get the first cutting instruction!  And I have to choose between making it 75” X 75” or 111” X 111”.   The neutrals may be a problem as my buying has shied away from light fabrics, and most of those that I do have are very plain!   I really don't want to buy more fabrics,  I do want to use as much of what I already have!

As soon as I have caught up on non-quilting things, my sewing machine will be busy!   I think I will use the 29 Nov as a deadline for those non-quilty things.

My Mum wants to see the quilting frame in action - think I need to plan this for December!

So go sew!

01 October 2013

Playing with layouts

These are 4.5" blocks made by my mother mostly from my scraps.  Joined together with 1.5" strips into 9-patches.  Looks a bit busy, the colours are very bright with lots of fun bits.


29 September 2013

What a rush!

 These are the three quilts all finished and on a teaser display in the foyer of Jacky's school.
They were sold on auction in function room at a local theatre last Saturday and whilst my husband thought they should have got more, we were pleased that they raised a tidy sum.

Here are some more pictures of the ground floor of her Montessori school taken early evening.  I am proud of her, as she started this school from scratch less than 5 years ago.  There are no state subsidies for private schools in South Africa, so it has been a long journey for her (and her amazingly handy husband!).  The demand for high quality early childhood education means it is still growing!

And finally a picture of the Just Takes 2 quilt with the borders on.  It joins the queue of 8 quilts need quilting!  At least it looks purple and white now, instead of blue and white! 

16 September 2013

No pictures..

... and my sister Jo knows what that means!

Did manage to finish the quilting on all three school quilts by Saturday evening.  Cut out the binding for the first one ready to start on Sunday.  Thought I would only have to bind this one, as I had enough fabric in the backings of the other two to bring to the front as an edge finish.  Huh! Trimming the batting of the second one and I managed to slice off the back, so OK, trim it all off and make a binding for number two.  Much more controlled and careful cutting of excess batting on the third one!  So two bindings and one turnover edge.  Bindings machine stitched down as no time for hand finishing.  First two collected for pre-auction display at the school this week.  I lost my impetus to sew the last binding, so that will be done tonight.  Will ask for photos of them hanging at school.

On Saturday morning there was a meeting of local quilt teachers held under the auspices of the local regional guild.  Lots of good discussions around teacher/pupil/venue expectations and norms.  One of the topics was that the South African Quilters' Guild is running a year long Teachers Accreditation course.  Self-study with assignments.  Moderators are all highly experienced quilters.  Open to all quilters, even if not yet a quilt teacher!  It is a pre-cursor to the Judges Accreditation course.  I think this is a good step for South African quilters, encouraging new and experienced teachers to ensure that what they are teaching meets a certain standard.

09 September 2013

Small finishes

Last night I tidied up the sewing space so that today I could move all the stuff that had accumulated on the quilting frame into the said tidied space!  Not having used the frame since the beginning of the year there was a fair amount of stuff.  Chucked out some it and felt good (eg the old iron with fusing stuck on it, that was keeping just in case I used fusing again, empty cardboard boxes from the new iron and lamp!).

I needed to reacquaint myself with the frame and machine, so cleaned and oiled and new needle in, loaded up a small quilt top we had made at our group back in March.  Just the thing to practice on.  It is not a computerised machine, so it is my shaky version of free-motion quilting.  Backing is a sweet brushed cotton contributed by Lindsay.  Only one disaster, breaking the needle off in my finger - no pictures of that, too gruesome, but no blood on quilt!  Put in the second new needle!  After this, I'm ready for the three school quilts!

And here are some other small fun things, a pair of socks that turned out a bit bigger than expected.  It's the first pair (and maybe last pair) of socks that I will knit!  My adult son says he'll wear them!  Knitted all in one from the toe up. 

And because there was some wool left (and plenty more in different colours), I figured out how to knit a 2" hexagon, and this I might make more of.  It was knitted on four needles from the edge to the centre.

And one last picture of the handprints of my sister and one of the teachers in her school, to go on the back of their class quilts:

One sample 6" block done for Bonnie's year-long leader-ender project.  I have lots of triangles cut, and have stitched quite a few of the 2" half-square-triangle elements that run diagonally in this block, and plenty of 2.5" squares from cleaning up scraps. It's not a race, but am curious to see how many I can make of these over the next year - I hope to have a least enough to make one single-bed size quilt (I was going to work out how many that may be, but decided not to think about it!).

08 September 2013

A quick update...

I have managed to piece the last of the three tops. This is the second one with the borders on.

On Thursday evening I was able to trim all the blocks for the third one, this time to all the same size, and cut all the sashing strips.  Played with the layout yesterday morning and started to sew.

Did the last blocks this morning, and note that I did have some assistance.

And finished it this afternoon.
NOW they all have to be quilted - definitely going to use the frame! 

03 September 2013

Second school top nearly done

Got the second batch of hand-prints and painted squares on Friday and worked on various layouts:


Don't know how I can get three photos in a row and can't get the next two side by side!

The beige blocks are cut 7.5" and the turquoise blocks 8".

This was the final layout choice, and starting to add red accent strips (1/2" finished on 2 sides of beige blocks):

And the final centre, don't know why it's sideways!  All the seams matched beautifully!

Think will add a narrow beige and a wide red border.  And Eep pestering as she wants to go to bed.