Friday, December 31, 2010

23 minutes left in the year...

This is one of those blog posts where the title has nothing whatsoever to do with the content.
It just is what it is.

The scenario:
You've lost something, so you search all over the house looking for it -- only to find instead something which you'd been looking for previously.

My reality:
I've "temporarily misplaced" some pieces of fabric -- namely two blue fat quarters, of which I need to cut a piece out of each for the next stage of the round robin I'm working on. Thinking back, I don't remember seeing them for some time now. But I wasn't looking for them before, so I can't be sure when they went "missing". (I refuse to say they are LOST. They are somewhere in the house. They must be.)
And so I was searching quite aggressively this evening, and happened upon several other fabric pieces which I didn't realise weren't in their proper home in the sewing room; a pair of scissors I forgot I owned, which would've come in handy many times over the past few weeks; a pack of needles that I was needing four days ago; the TV Guide for the week ending today; and the instructions I'd printed for something, which I had been about to start looking for next.

And what did I learn from this? -- to tidy up and become more organised?
No -- because I knew that already; I just have trouble following through.

No, what I think I must do is decide on something I'm looking for, have a little look for it, and if unsuccessful, try to forget about it and start searching for something else instead.

Then it's bound to turn up.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's December already?

Oh my, it's been a long while since my last post. Things have been quite frantic at home, what with the school year ending (the kids are now at home with me full time for 6 weeks or so (along with hubby, who's taking 5 weeks off for his annual leave, to have a decent break over summer)), and getting ready for xmas -- which is only 6 sleeps away!! How did that sneak up so quickly? I believe 2010 has been the fastest year on record. I really do not know where all the time has gone.
On a brighter note, I've sewn the latest border on my Patchwork Posse round robin quilt. I left it until the last possible moment, as it looked quite complicated. But the instructions were easy to follow, phew. Now I know how to do seminole piecing! One of the best ideas was to use starch. I'd never used it before, so that was a learning curve. But overall, the part that took the longest was choosing which colour fabrics to use.

I managed to get it into the Flickr group in time to go into the drawing, and I won! Yay! What did I win, you ask? A pattern from Morning Glory Designs and a copy of Quiltmaker's Magazine, 100 Blocks vol. 2.

Yeeha, first time I've won something online!

What I've learned today: starch is my new best friend :o)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I stitched today

I still have to figure out how to crop photos. Although in this pic the mat that I lay the quilt top on adds a nice textured border, I think (that's my excuse, anyway).

The latest border isn't quite finished - there's supposed to be applique birds in the reddy-brown top & bottom centre spaces. I'd like to have a NZ fantail, 'cos they're such pretty birds, but I'm not sure if it would fit in with the theme of the quilt. Unless I can get a whimsical fantail shape that's easy enough to applique. But if I can't, then I'll just settle for something simple, cute and birdlike.

Today I learned that I need to get more done! Only a month until xmas. I'll be sewing a lot of pressies this year, instead of buying them. Using the sewing machine to save money, that's gotta be good!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I made hot cross buns for breakfast this morning. Yes, I know, there's no cross on top. I don't bother with that anymore. The recipe calls for the iced crosses to be piped on. I used to do that. But there'd always be loads of icing left over, so I'd end up decorating around the crosses, making spiderwebs and suchlike. Then one day I was feeling extra lazy, so I just added a glob of icing mix to each bun top. No more RSI from holding the piping tool too long, yay.
And the good thing about having hot cross buns for breakfast is that the girls actually ate some. They almost always skip breakfast, preferring not to eat first thing in the morning. But the aroma of baking buns was too much for them today; they just had to succumb.

Here's some sewing I did yesterday. It's for the round robin I'm doing. There's still some cutting and patching to do with these pieces.

(In case you're wondering, the zebra print fabric is my ironing board cover.)
Because nearly every crafty blog seems to have a feline mascot, I think it's time I introduced Tabitha.
She's feeling rather pleased with herself here, having found a dog to sleep on. The dog in question is actually a pencil case. The pencil case belongs to my 9-year-old, who at the time of receiving it collected dogs. She called it Pencil Dog. Nowadays he's just called Pencil, and his chief task is to transport the coloured pencils to and from school. He's very good at his job, and gets to rest every so often. But he looks rather surprised to have a cat plonk herself down on top of him!

And because I had to wait so long for my pics to load (Blogger is being somewhat temperamental today), I went down to my sewing room and chose some fabric for my next little project.

(Yes that is a xmas tree in the background. No, it's not too early. The stores are selling them, so we bought one. And used it straight away. I'd much rather have a real tree with that real-tree-smell, but hubby is tired of the hassle. And I'm tired of finding pine needles in the carpet for months afterward.)

Today I learned that cutting out fabric takes a LOT longer than you originally think it will.
Estimate a time. Double it. Then double it again.
And add five minutes on, just to be on the safe side.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Round Robin

Last month I joined in a round robin over at Patchwork Posse. Starting with the centre block, a different designer adds a round every couple of weeks.

The theme is "Whimsical", and it's a whole lot of fun!

The centre block is a mix of embroidery and applique, in a gorgeously cute garden scene.

The second round (well, two sides actually) features more flowers, with more applique and embroidery.

What I learned today was that I need to figure out how to crop photos. Toe shots aren't cool.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pointy Kitty

A while ago, when I was researching on the internet for a free cat pattern, I stumbled across directions for Pointy Kitty. I was smitten. I made this as a present for my daughter's 9th birthday. Her (ever-growing) collection of toy cats are named after characters in the Warrior Cats series, so this one has been renamed.
Her body and head are unbleached calico and the stripey bits are some cotton fabric scraps. The body is embroidered with lazy daisies. The eyes and nose are cut from felt. Instead of stitching the whiskers on, I used fishing line, which is knotted inside the head part. I'm not saying that we've ever had a cat with nylon whiskers, but I do think it makes for a more realistic look (which Miss 9 appreciates).
If the fabric and colours look familiar, it's because this kitty helped inspire my mini block quilt.
What I learned from this (my first foray into toy-making) is that even when you think you have enough stuffing, you oughta add some more anyway. This poor puss doesn't stand too well, due to her legs being a bit too bendable. By the time I realised this, I'd sewn the head on, and really didn't want to redo any tricky stitching.

Big thanks to Hillary Lang from Wee Wonderfuls for the pattern.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Quilter's block

This is a quilt that I made for my daughter. Or rather, for her toy cats. It was an experiment, and a lot of fun to make.

Instead of following a pattern, or designing it first, I decided to just start from the middle and work my way out, adding pieces as I went. No overthinking allowed.

The centre square is unbleached calico, embroidered with lazy daisy stitches. I know they aren't uniformly even and perfect, but I'd only recently learned how to do them. The next round was from some leftovers from a fat quarter I'd used in another project (more on that in a future post). The next round features border strips, recycled from an old skirt. The skirt had been pleated, which shows alternate strips of worn/new colour. I could've turned it over and used the even colour on the "wrong" side, but the subtle stripey effect appealed more. Lastly were some triangles of more calico, with appliqued stars attached with a single strand of embroidery floss. The buttons were an afterthought. My first instinct was to not have them, but then I reminded myself that there were no rules to follow, so just go with whatever felt right!

For the curious, the backing is calico, which shows up the quilting rather well (I was just pleased to achieve straightish, even lines!). The outline quilting around the stars is done by hand, which I unexpectedly enjoyed.
The batting is low-loft polyester.

What did I learn from this?
  • I really like handstitching;
  • small projects are quick and easy to do;
  • "letting go" every once in a while is very therapeutic if you're like me, and tend to plan everything down to the last detail before even picking up the rotary cutter;
  • and looking at it now, I'm not drawn to the plain colours - the next one will feature more prints.
Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival I don't know if this can be classified as a true quilt, as it measures only 13.5" square. But if it does, then it's my entry into the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

First time entering anything anywhere. Yay!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

First quilt

 The very first quilt I made (and finished) was a simple rag quilt. When I first got into quilting, nearly a year ago now, I used the internet to find out everything I could. The rag quilts I saw, and the easy-to-follow instructions that accompanied them, had me believing that even I could make one.

And so I did. Just before xmas I bought a metre of bright pink flannelette, a remnant of white, and some thick batting. At home I rounded up all the offcuts of pajama fabric I could find (which were mainly colours you wouldn't mix with bright pink), and planned out a symmetrical pattern.

About a week later it was done. Too late to be a xmas pressie, it was now a happy-new-year gift for my daughter.

The longest and most tedious part was snipping the seams (which gives it the raggy look). That alone has put me off wanting to make another one. I had sore hands for a day or so after.

Today I learned (or rather, remembered) that it's often handy to take photos along the way. You never know what you're going to forget.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

First post

You learn something new every day.
It's true. Just think for a few moments, and you'll realise that you will have increased your knowledge base by at least one item, in the last 24 hours.

Today I learned the proper way to set up an embroidery hoop. I did learn a couple of other things as well, but this is/will be a crafty-type blog, so that's what I'll go with.

There. First post done.