Welcome to my blog about my quilting journey! I started quilting in 2006 with a quilt of my own design which started as a cushion cover and ended up as a single bed sized quilt! Now I'm totally hooked....maybe obsessed is a better word for it.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

January UFO Complete!

Well I opted to take it a bit easy for January's UFO and finally get around to practicing quilting feathers. They were on my list of things to try last year but I never got to them so this time I promoted them to my actual UFO list and now I've done it!

In October I went to the Australian Machine Quilting Festival held here in Adelaide every two years and was lucky enough to do some classes with the fabulously talented Judi Madsen. They were only demonstration classes not hands on but I still learned plenty let me tell you!  Judi was absolutely lovely and very helpful and open in sharing her techniques.

Luckily I took plenty of notes as it took my four months to get around to actually trying to put some of what I learned into action.  I posted last week about my initial attempts which turned out pretty well.  As a reminder here are a couple of photos, along with my initial sketches for practice!  Please excuse the attractive combination (not!) of pink fabric with lime green thread, I wanted to be able to clearly see what I was stitching.

 I had some trouble keeping things even in long row of feathers!
Quite liked these feathers, might have to use them in something soon!

This week I tried to do some feather motifs inside squares and also more practice on quilting feathers around a border (which I have to say without Judi's class I would have never figured out on my own!).  I've decided I quite like doing border feathers!

 Here is the pencil sketch I started with!
and the quilted version:

Not sure I'm a fan of this particular design of Judi's but it looks great when she does it. Mine? Not so much!

I struggle with getting this one right, it turned out better than it felt when I was doing it but still not loving it. More practice necessary I think.

This one I took one of Judi's triangular shapes and made it into a square. I found it easier to quilt and I quite like the effect of it.
A close up of my border. Getting better at this, definitely going to use this on a quilt soon!

My constant companion at the sewing machine (and anywhere else I go, even to the loo!) had to be there helping too, if only for moral support! She's not as excited by the whole quilting thing, unless I happen to put some fabric or a quilt on the floor and then she's all over it!

Anyway, that's January's UFO ticked off! I have managed to do a little work on one of my others at the same time but no photos to share of that one as yet. Its turn will come this year!

Thanks for joining me today,

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

A Couple of New Toys and Some UFO Action

In November I went to the Quilt & Craft Fair here in Adelaide and one of the goodies I bought was a little light with a flexible neck to light up my quilting space.  I haven't done any quilting since then so haven't used it but as this month my UFO is to finally try quilting feathers I dug it out and gave it a go.
It uses one AAA battery which gives you up to 9 hours apparently. It was nice to have light where I need it without having to put my portable Ottlite in between me and the machine (as you can see in this photo).

 I can't count the number of times I've nearly knocked it over on to the floor!   Its not too bad and doesn't get in the way like my other light. It comes with two bases so you can use it on more than one machine too which is handy (if you have two machines which I don't!). Here is the packaging of the new light in case you're interested.

My other new toy is not related to quilting but is already one of my favourites! Now I'm not a great one for housework and tend to do the minimum I can get away with but when I do it I like it done properly. I've had a vacuum that has been driving me mad at its poor design and lack of real suction or ability to suck up golden retriever hair. To put the icing on the cake its wheels fell apart as well and it was a real pain to empty, putting dust all over me. After a bit of research and saving up I bought this little baby:

Never would I have said I enjoyed vacuuming before but now I do! The joy of using an efficient, well designed product and the horror of how much dirt is coming out of my carpets! Its the first time since we've had our dog that I can look at the lounge carpet and not see a dog hair anywhere except on the dog! I've always had problems with stooping over with my other cleaners but this one is the perfect height for me so my back loves it as well.

Anyway, back to quilting!  As I said above, my UFO project this month (No. 2 over at Marti's 52 Quilts) is to practice quilting feathers. I did a feathers class with Judi Madsen in October at the Australia Machine Quilting Festival here in Adelaide and have yet to put what I learned into use.  So I dug out my notes, my sketchpad, made some sandwiches (of the quilty type!), put some contrasting thread in the machine and had a crack at it.  I'll share my full practice photos at the end of the month but so far I'm pretty happy with my progress.  Here's a couple of shots so far:

Today I'm trying feathers in squares which is not going quite as well but with practice I'm sure it will improve. Still I think if I was stitching in white thread on white it would look much better than bright green on pale pink so I'm pretty happy. Might be ready to do some on a real quilt soon, although I don't think any of the tops I have ready to quilt are quite right for feathers.

Thanks for visiting today!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

What I've Been Up To Lately

What with all the hooha around Christmas I haven't had time (or inclination really) to share some of the things I've been working on over the last month or so.  Time to get up to date!

I decided to make some cushions for Serena (my hubby's granddaughter) to match the quilt I made her a couple of years ago. She and her Mum and Dad moved into a new house just before Christmas so I thought some pillows for her bed might be just the thing. I had some fun with the quilting on the heart pillow but thought the star pillow didn't need as much.

This is the quilt I made originally and I tried to use a lot of the bits and pieces I had left to make the cushions.

Last year I also helped Kristy at Quietplay test some paper pieced blocks, one of which was for an alphabet/numbers collection of patterns. I was allocated the number 4 and an apostrophe to test. I didn't quite know what to do with them and then remembered that my brother's lucky number is 4 so I put the two together and made him a little mug rug for work!

I also made some heat pads (to protect your table from hot dishes) as small additional gifts. I found this pattern when someone else shared a link on Quilt Club Australia and they are seriously easy to make!  I initially made my first two using 9 inch squares of fabric and two layers of batting but changed to 10 inch squares and used one layer of batting and one of insulbrite for the rest. They were a little easier to quilt at the corners that way and a better finished size.

This is what they look like from the back. Effective aren't they?

This one is my favourite, I'd like to make some like this one for myself if I ever get around to it!

I made a couple of others too but in the rush to get them in the mail I forgot to take a photo!

So that was my Christmas sewing. Before I start the UFO along I decided to spend my last couple of days before I go back to work working on finishing my Star Value blocks. They're on my UFO list and were last year too but got pushed to the side so I could finish my brother's quilt.

I had four done but have another 12 cut out ready to piece. I'll share more photos when I make some more progress.

Thought I'd finish with some random Xmas photos (mostly of our dog - fair warning!).
Livvie didn't want to wear the Christmas hat but she didn't want Brian to wear it either

Livvie also took it upon herself to recycle the Christmas wrapping paper by shredding it to reduce landfill!
 Mmmmm, my Christmas trifle!
 Livvie liked having her country cousin Kip to stay but wasn't always keen to have him share her bed!

Well, that's me up to date. Best go now, just heard from my sister-in-law that they are evacuating from their place due to bushfires currently burning in the Adelaide Hills and are heading here with their animals. We're well away from any bushfire danger being in the suburbs but do get a bit of smoke when the wind blows the wrong way.

Thinking of everyone affected in the hills today. Hopefully they can get it under control soon.