Tuesday 25 February 2014

Your Place or Mine? - month 5

Last night I finished month 5 of the 'Your Place or Mine?' block of the month. It features yachts sailing on the harbour, with fish below and seagulls above. I'm really happy with how it turned out.

month 5

month 4

month 3

months 1 and 2
I'm still a little bit behind because month 6 is sitting here, and month 7 is in the post now. I've cut most of the pieces for month 6, I just need to sew them onto the background. Hopefully I'll get that finished within a week or two. This quilt is so much fun!
I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced.

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Christmas decorations in February?

Although I haven't posted any photos of quilting progress lately, I have been working on my Pantone Quilt Challenge quilt. The top is finished and I'm currently hand quilting it with Perle 8. It has to be finished by the deadline of March 21, so I'll just keep it under wraps until then.

In the evenings I've been working on these lovely Christmas designs from Laura J Perin. I made a couple of her canvas work designs last year and I really enjoyed stitching them. Back at the start of January, while I was still in the Christmas spirit, I decided I'd like to make her Holiday Ornaments Series 2 (below), and her new Holiday Wreath. My aim is to have them both ready well before Christmas 2014.

I had some white canvas in the cupboard and rather than painting it, I decided to dye it with tea. I left it in the laundry sink overnight and it turned tea coloured. The canvas won't be visible when the designs are finished, because I'll be turning them into individual ornaments, but even so, I didn't want any white canvas peeking through.

I used cotton to mark the centre of each of the four designs, and then put the canvas onto the roller bars and wound the threads onto cardboard. This is how much I got done on the first night:

After another night or two it looked like this:

and within a week the first ornament was finished!

They're turning out slightly bigger than I expected - 4.5 x 4.5 inches. They'll look great on a big tree, but I might just cut down the designs and make smaller versions too, to give as gifts to people with smaller trees.  I'll keep the centre designs the same, but bring the outside borders in. Canvas work is great because you make lots of progress quite quickly.

I'll be linking up with Needle n thread Thursday and Esther's WOW. and Confessions of a fabric addict.

Saturday 15 February 2014

Grow Your Blog Winner

Well it's 15 February here in New Zealand, so time to determine the winner of the Grow Your Blog tour 2014.

Firstly I'd like to say a huge thank you to Vicki from 2 bags full for arranging this event. She must have put many hours into organizing this blog hop and I'm very grateful. Vicki has done wonderful things for all of the smaller bloggers out there. I had no GFC followers before this event, and only 5 followers on bloglovin. Now I have 32 GFC followers and 18 followers on bloglovin. Most of those new followers have joined as a result of Grow Your Blog, so thank you Vicki.

As for myself, I visited at least 50 new blogs during Grow Your Blog. I tended to restrict myself to those that sounded like they involved quilts or stitching. I discovered some real gems and have met a couple of people with very similar interests. It's a pity that they live in USA and Canada, and I live in New Zealand, and there's no real prospect of meeting up at quilt shows, but, at least we've got the internet, and don't have to send letters and photos in the post. I've gained a whole load more inspiration, and have many more ideas of things I'd like to make.

Thank you to everyone who visited my blog and left lovely comments. I hope you found some inspiration and might return again in the future.

I thought that the fat quarters looked a bit lonely by themselves, so I've added a New Zealand tea towel. I live in Wellington, the capital city, at the bottom of the North Island, where Peter Jackson made the Hobbit movies.

New Zealand tea towel and NZ fat quarters
Time for the prize draw then - drum roll please - the winner is:
Heidi from Red Letter Quilts - congratulations Heidi. I'll send you an email to get your address, and then pop your prize in the post.

Thank you everyone - I'm looking forward to doing it all again next year!

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Canvas work cushion

This is a canvas work cushion that I made a while ago. I learnt how to do this in a class at Nancy's Embroidery in Wellington, New Zealand.
Canvas work cushion
This cushion used a wide range of embroidery stitches. What makes it different is the padding used to raise up the large shapes, which are then covered with satin stitch.

There are layers of felt underneath the blue satin stitched oval.

More layers of felt under the green circle.
There were about six people in the class, and once we had completed the satin stitch on main featured circles or ovals, we used a range of stitches around the edges of them to highlight them. There was no pattern for this design, we were just taught the techniques and stitches, and everyone's cushions ended up differently.

Once we'd completely finished the featured circles and ovals, we filled in large blank areas by adding smaller stitches that didn't need felt padding.

 You'll see that my love affair with blues, greens and pinks has continued on from the Bargello cushions. In fact, I used some of my left over Perle 5s to make this cushion, plus some veriagated threads to add interest.

My mum kindly turned the finished canvas work into a cushion for me. I chose Kaffe Fasset Millefiore in blue for the border because I though it tied in perfectly. Once again, it's too good for general use, so it sits on a chair in the hall.

I'm linking up with Esther's WOWs, and Needle and Thread Thursday.

Sunday 9 February 2014

Knitting at the Winter Olympics!

I was watching the Men's Slopestyle Snowboarding from the Sochi Winter Olympics this morning, and was amazed to see one of the coaches knitting as she sent he snowboarder off down the course! He only paused knitting to give his boarder, Roope Tonteri from Finland, a high five, and then continued knitting as he set off.
knitting at the Winter Olympics
I guess the coach has an urgent need for another scarf while he's is in Sochi, but coming from Finland you'd think he already had plenty of warm clothes. Or maybe he's just discovered knitting and can't put it down, even for the finals at the Olympic Games! I can see that it's garter stitch, so maybe he is a beginner.

We waited for Roope Tonteri to do his second run to see if the coach was still knitting and he was. See how he's standing on the other side of him now, but still working those needles.

Update: After posting this I checked the internet to see if anyone else had noticed. It turns out that other members of the Finnish team will add to the scarf and it will be given to Finland's team for the summer Olympics in Brazil. You can read more about it in this article from the Wall Street Journal. The snowboarder thought it would be fun for the coach to knit at the starting line.

I love all the patchwork designs they've used for the signage and officials clothing at these Olympics. The ladies presenting the flowers to the medalists have lovely blue fitted jackets with white fur trim. Watch out for them if you're watching the Olympics.

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Your Place or Mine progress

Tomorrow is a holiday in New Zealand and I'll be working on the 'Your Place or Mine?' Block of the Month. You can read more about the blocks I've completed here.

The holiday is Waitangi Day (also referred to as New Zealand Day). It's the day we celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, our founding document, signed in 1840 by the native Maori people and the European settlers (mainly English and Scottish). Businesses and schools will be closed, so most of us have a holiday. The shops will still be open of course.

Month 5 in progress
I've fallen a little bit behind with this Block of the Month, so I'm aiming to complete months 5 and 6 in February, before month 7 arrives at the end of the month. Unlike most quilting BOMs, this one consists mainly of hand sewing. There are many felt shapes to cut out and stitch onto the background fabric. Above is a photo of month 5 in progress. The felt pieces are sewn on with Perle 8 which has a nice sheen.

Someone did ask for some close up photos of the centre piece, so here they are:

The flowers in the flower garden above are circles cut from fabric and then appliqued onto felt, which is then cut into a circle and stitched onto the background fabric.

The doors and windows are all sewn onto the houses before they are attached to the background. I'm really enjoying making this quilt.

I'm linking up with Esther's WOWsWiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and Needle and Thread Thursday.