Saturday 28 June 2014

Mini Medallion Quilt a Long - part 1

Yesterday as I was going through my daily feed on Bloglovin, and I noticed Staci of The Confused Quilter was doing a mini medallion quilt a long. I followed her links and found that Clover & Violet were running the quilt a long.

my centre block
I read all about it, and decided a little 32" x 32" medallion quilt would be fun to make. It would also provide me with a few more tips and tricks on borders for the Possum Magic round robin.

The quilt needs 10 fat quarters and 2 half yards. I like to know I've got all the fabrics I need before I embark on these types of things. Then I can balance the fabrics and not end up having to add a totally new fabric on the final border.

Back in May I won 5 Michael Miller fat quarters during the Sew Mamma Sew Giveaways.  They are teal which is a colour I like, but not one that I've used a lot. I do know it's very popular at the moment, and it would look nice in my family room if I decide to turn the quilt into a wall hanging.

the fat quarters I won in May
I decided to visit my local quilt shop to buy 5 more fat quarters to complement the ones above. There were so many options in teal. I ended up buying a yellow / mustard one just to provide a 'pop' element. I already had 2 larger pieces at home that are suitable for the background fabrics. (Yes, that's more than 10 fat quarters, but always better to be on the safe side!)

fabrics for mini medallion quilt a long
So knowing that I had all the fabrics I needed, it was safe to start. I made my little centre block in less than 2 hours, and am quite happy with how it turned out. It's ages since I've done flying geese, so it was worth it for that alone.

Fortunately I don't have to wait long for July's instructions to arrive. That's the beauty of joining in a bit late!

Saturday 21 June 2014

My purple bag is finished

My purple bag is finished and I'm really delighted with it.

One side of the bag
It used it on Thursday when I had to carry a lot of books to a meeting. It's so big and deep I even fitted my jacket in there too.

The other side
I blogged about this bag six weeks ago (click here) when I was just starting out. I knew my mum was coming to stay, and she's made quite a lot of bags, so I decided to wait until she was here before I went any further.

Mum suggested a few ways to simplify the pattern. I'll list them here so you can see what we did:
- rather than sewing all of the pieces onto a backing fabric, I just sewed them together without any backing.

- I then joined my front and back pieces to the bottom piece to make on long piece
- I cut one long strip of needlepunch batting and quilted the exterior of the bag onto it

- I used batting in the handles rather than stiffening

- I put a simple patch pocket on the inside rather than a zip pocket

Apart from these variations, I followed Elizabeth Hartman's pattern called Perfect Quilted Totes.

My mum has made about 20 bags of all different shapes and sizes for friends and family. Even with her tips, it still took longer than I had expected. Maybe my second bag will be quicker? Who knows, but I don't plan to make another one for some time. I'm very happy with this one for now.

Monday 16 June 2014

Your Place or Mine? - month 8

Do you remember this quilt that I'm working on? It's wool felt applique, all hand stitched onto the background.

I'm pleased to say that I've finally finished month 8 of the block of the month. You can't see it in the photo above because it's not sewn on yet,

Somehow this panel has taken me much longer than all of the others. I kept unpicking things that I wasn't happy with, so progress was slow.

This panel featured butterflies, rabbits, a horse, a cow, a pig and a cat of course.

The final 2 months (9 and 10) have now arrived, so I've got everything I need to finish this quilt top.

I've also got the backing ready too. I'm not a prolific quilt maker and each one of my quilts involves a lot of love and time. Therefore I like to put great backings on to my quilts to finish them off perfectly. Kaffe fabrics are far from cheap in New Zealand, so sometimes I buy online from USA if I'm ordering a lot for a backing. I wanted to use the same fabric for the backing as the BOM have used for the borders (Belle Epoch), and I couldn't see it online, so I went to a local shop that I knew stocked it. I needed 4.5 metres, and there was exactly 4.5 metres left on the bolt, so it was clearly meant to be mine. Thank you Sue from Busy Bee Quilt Shop in Wellington.

Centre panel finished
If you'd like to read about the previous months you can check out these posts:
month 7
month 6
month 5
month 4
month 3
central block

Good news everyone - If you love hand stitching and want to be challenged by a project that will consume many hours, Material Obsession are running this BOM again. Enrolments open very soon, but you can send them an email if you are interested. (click here)

I'll be linking up far and wide on this one because it feels like a major achievement to get this panel finished. Please check out these lovely linkup parties.
Sew Cute Tuesday
WIP Wednesday
Needle and Thread Thursday
Crazy mum quilts

Only two more months to go now!! I'll be sad when it's over, but I'll also have a lot more time to devote to other things.

Tuesday 10 June 2014

My Christmas ornaments are finished

Remember how I said last weekend was going to be busy? Well, with my mum's help I did get a lot of things finished. Top of my list of things to finish were these lovely canvas work Christmas decorations.

Christmas Ornaments - Large version
The designs are from Laura J Perin and the pattern is called Holiday Ornaments, Series 2. I decided that rather stitching all 4 designs on one piece of canvas, I would make individual ornaments which could be placed on our Christmas tree. The 4 big ornaments above are for us to keep, and the 5 small ones below are to give away as gifts.

Christmas Ornaments - small version
Each of the large designs is 4.5 inches square on 18 count canvas. The small ones are 3 inches square.

Mum did such a good job of finishing these for me. They're all mounted onto cardboard, and the backs are mounted too. We just used Christmas fabric for the backs.
The back view
Then the gold beading is sewn on, and the tassels and strings are added too. The assembly took much longer than I thought it would, mainly because it's not easy stitching up against cardboard. I"m really grateful for mum's help.

Victoria Sampler Christmas decorations
I also had these two ornaments from The Victoria Sampler lurking in my Christmas decoration box. I'd stitched them a while ago, but I was never happy with how the heart was mounted, so it got a makeover too. These are made from free designs at The Victoria Sampler.

If you'd like to know more about the canvas work decorations, I wrote a couple of earlier posts when I was just starting out in February (click here), and again at the end of March when they were finished (click here).

Now I need to work on assembling my Gingerbread Bakery and Candy Cane Cottage so they are well and truly done before Christmas.

Monday 9 June 2014

Fancy a notebook?

Last week one of my local quilt shops, Stitchbird in Kilbirnie, had a sale because they were 2 years old. I bought some of these lovely Fox Field fabrics by Tula Pink fabrics and the butterflies by Heather Bailey.

The zigzag one in particular had been called to me for some time, so I just had to have a little bit of it.

Yesterday I picked up some plain note books from Typo (gift/stationery shop) because I needed a note book to send away with my Possum Magic round robin block. The decorative tape I got from Typo went perfectly with the zigzag fabric, so I decorated the note book last night.

my Possum Magic notebook - the one on the left.

Now comes the hard part - I want to put Contact / Duraseal on the notebooks to prevent the tape rubbing off with wear and tear. Applying Contact to school exercise books is an annual chore in this part of the world. Many schools insist that the books are covered to make them last longer. Somehow it's always the mums that end up doing it, and often it's late at night because the books have to be ready by the morning. Wish me luck as I struggle with the Contact this morning.

I'm linking up with Mollie Sparkles Sunday Stash, hosted by Quilts from the Attic this week.

Thursday 5 June 2014

Possum Magic round robin

How's this for a centre block for my very first round robin? I bought the lime green for the centre, but all of the blues are from my stash - note my extensive Kaffe collection!

I'm part of the New Bloggers Blog Hop organised by Beth at Plum and June. Beth is kindly promoting different sets of new bloggers over four weeks in June / July. I'm due to reveal a bit more about myself and my quilting on 9 July, but before then I'm enjoying reading more about other modern quilters' styles and their methods. I really encourage you to check out the links provided at Plum and June for the first group.

Through the New Bloggers group I've met some really friendly new bloggers in Australia and New Zealand. We've formed a little group ourselves, and go by the name Possum Magic. Why that name? Well possums are found in both New Zealand and Australia and we're going to create some magic in this group.

The other members of the Possum Magic group are:

Alice of Blossom Quilts and Crafts
Carla of Granny Maud's Girl
Jane of Where Jane Creates
Jo of Riddle and Whimsy
Rebecca of One Wee Bird
Sharon of Motherdragon's Musings
Serena of Sew Giving

We've decided to organise a round robin between ourselves, and we're each currently each working on our centre blocks. We'll post them off to the next person on the list before the end of June, and then the blocks will work their way around the group until the return to their original owners in the middle of next year. Then we'll each have our very own quilt top.

I got the idea for my centre block from a tutorial by Heather at House of a la mode. I'm really pleased with how it's turned out. In fact, so pleased that I've made a second block which I'm going to keep for myself and add to progressively as I get ideas during the round robin. When my round robin quilt returns next year I'll have two quilt tops that started out the same, but are very different.

I'm really looking forward to this round robin. I'm keen to see how the other members of the group choose fabrics and designs to complement the centre blocks.

Tuesday 3 June 2014

I won something!!

I don't know about you, but I entered quite a few giveaways during the Sew Mama Sew giveaways a few weeks ago. I didn't enter every giveaway, just those that I thought I would use. So I was really delighted when I found out that I'd actually won the giveaway at I'm Feeling Crafty.

Photo from I'm Feeling Crafty
Louise got her friend Monica at the West Seattle Fabric Company to post me out the above beautiful fat quarters, and they arrived here last week. They are all lovely fabrics, and I'm looking forward to creating something yummy with them. As I said to Louise, I have plenty of blues and greens already, but not a lot of teal so this will complement my stash nicely. Now I have the fun task of pondering what to make.
Thank you very much Louise.