Monday, February 27, 2012

Organizing fail!

While busy in my sewing room this weekend I decided to do something about my fabric which is in a cupboard but because of the width and length of the rack only the fabric in the front is visible when I opened the door.

See, I could never see what is behind these bolts.

I honestly don't have an inch of unused space in my room but I use 8 cupboards like these to keep my quilt books and magazines.

Cleverly I thought I'd swap the books and fabrics and now my fabric is in single file and visible if I open the little doors.

However when I started packing my books in the old faric cupboard I had exactly the same problem..... darn!  Now my books aren't visible at a single glance - stacked in double rows with only the front books visible - just as the fabric was!  In fact I even had to take some books to another room.

There is just no way I am changing back again and until I can figure out something else to do (declutter I suppose) this will have to stay.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My week in quilting

Daily posts about projects kept in plastic bags are not much fun but I do this to not only keep track of my progress but also to motivate myself.  At least looking back on my own blog shows that things did happen even though my UFO list is still 21 items long.

On Tuesday my goodie-bag project quota for July 2012 got done.  Quilted backings done for me by Iessie Steenberg and Frances van Schalkwyk - kind fairies!  Now I can attend the IQC in July without feeling guilty about incomplete projects.  Yip, accommodation already booked for this first time African event.

Spent way too much time on the telephone on Wednesday and didn't quite finish another months' quota - a time consuming device, this little telephone.  Got up early on Thursday, did my morning household routines and then returned to the grinding board.  With the help of Rina van Straten and Magriet Bester who quilted these backings I got done with my August 2012 projects just before 10am.

Felow quilter, Elsie van dier Bijl, came over on Thursday morning with a big box of freezer paper that her daughter-in-law, Robin, sent us from the USA.  This should last us a lifetime or so.  Thanks Elsie and Robin!!  Elsie decided to make this the year to finish her UFO's and she made me so jealous with her progress.  Started working on a new months' quota but taught an evening class so I didn't get to finish.

I finished my quota for September on Friday just before the mister took me to dinner and I've now officially worked myself out of pre-quilted backings. Now I'll have to make more or seriously suck up to my fellow quilters to help.  Either way, I think I'm taking a break from goodie-bag projects for a while.  This months' quilted backings done for me by Frances van Schalkwyk and Rina van Straten.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Focus after having fun

I had a great time working on my own quilts for a while but with us planning something much bigger than just a quilt with our 2013 National Quilt Festival it was time to focus on the important again.

So on this lovely rainy day in central South Africa I tackled the goodie bag projects again and whoop-whoop I'm done with my quota for June 2012.

I unfortunately can only show the packaged picture to keep the surprise.

I was able to do this as fast as I did with the help of fellow quilters Iessie Steenberg, Wilna Geel and Frances van Schalkwyk who quilted the backs for me.  Thank you so much, this is a bigger help than any of you can ever imagine.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

UFO progress in an all-night-quilting session

I finished the appliqué on border 3 of my Simple Yet Elegant BOM on what was left of my Friday and Saturday morning but then had to prepare for an all night quilting sessions with a couple of the girls.  Apart from Wilna, who has done this with me before, the other 2 were newbies at quilting through the night.  The girls arrived with a salad bowl I at first thought would feed an army especially after they started adding to the basic ingredients.  It seems however they knew they'd need every ounce of energy to make it through the night and very little left-overs made it to the dustbin.
Natasha and Wilna

Sonja brought along a UFO but broke the rules by also bringing Jelly Roll strips and enough fabric for a third possible project.  The idea of these all night quilting sessions is to bring something that you NEED to work on but not necessarily WANT to and hopefully with being faced with only one project you'll get to take it up again and possibly finish it.  So with too many options, Sonja soon decided that she could do with a little sleep for an hour or two and disappeared onto the couch.

Natasha came with a quilt top for a baby and up until this evening she too was one of those people who badmouthed herself into believing that she couldn't free motion quilt.  We set her up nicely; Sonja cleaned out her machine, oiled it and replaced the needle.  Then we created a perfect space with a machine bed, supreme slider and once she put on the winning gloves there was just no stopping her!

Here she looks at her completed top with only the borders in need of some quilting still.  No mother could be prouder of her baby than Natasha was of this quilt!  Here's a little close-up of her very first free motion stitching.

I couldn't decide whether she was prouder of the front or the back of her quilt, so I had to take a photo of the back as well.

When I saw Sonja's Jelly Roll it reminded me of a block pattern I found on the internet on Friday and I showed her this.  Having to start reading and understanding instructions at 2:15 am seemed a little daunting and Sonja decided this block was just way too difficult to explain to anyone else.  In the end it turned out the block was basically just a variation of the Cathedral Window.

I think if Sonja reads the instructions again on a morning that she's all fresh, she'll wonder where the difficult part was.

Wilna, her quiet ladylike self, worked on the free motion of her Colorful Cube quilt and got ¾ of it done.  Just a couple of block more to go.


Natasha, by then almost asleep in her chair, quilting with only one eye open at a time.... "to give the other one a bit of a break!", decided to push through and quilt the border and a new pattern almost came naturally after she overcame her initial fear of doing the free motion quilting.  You go girl!!

I took out a very old UFO I've had for a couple of years.  There are several reasons why this stays a UFO. It is compiled of all my least favorite things..... a "one block" pattern, the same colors in every single block and finally it is foundation pieced, my least favorite quilting technique.  However every block I get to stitch during the 'all night quilting' is a block that wouldn't have been done otherwise, so I too pushed through and completed 5 of these twisted log cabin blocks.

The next morning I finished one more to at least complete row 3 and went to bed with DH cooking us a whole chicken in the Weber with a tray filled with mixed veggies basting in the dripping sauce of the chicken.  When I woke up just before lunch I only had to make a salad and we could enjoy lunch before I again went to bed to enjoy my Sunday afternoon nap!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Breakfast date

I finished the applique on the second border Thursday evening just before midnight and then enjoyed a rare full nights' rest.  This morning I had a breakfast date with the coordinator of our 2013 National Quilt Festival, Iessie Steenberg, to thank her for all the hard work she does.

Nope, I'm not that kind by nature but I had quite a scare some 2 weeks ago.  Another quilter e-mailed me asking whether I knew anything about Iessie not coordinating the festival anymore.  Gosh, you know that feeling when it seems your intestines switched positions and you are in need of a toilet desperately - not knowing whether you'll bend over it or simply flop down onto it??  That was exactly how I felt!!  Luckily I was still capable of e-mailing a single sentence back:  "I know nothing about it."

So why didn't anyone tell me?  Obviously because it wasn't true and the person who e-mailed me got confused with the Bloem Show that needed a new coordinator to give Iessie time to focus on the festival only.  This however made me realize how easily we criticize and how slow we are to compliment.  So I invited her to breakfast on me and we ended up talking (IQC obviously) until 12:30.  If we stayed any longer they could have served us lunch!

Now just to convince PIC (partner-in-crime) Karin to come along with us.  Please......... pretty please, Karin!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Daléne's quilt top

I almost made a boo-boo this morning.  Still chuffed with myself for having my applique shapes glue basted to work on during the day, I just came to sit at my computer when my phone rang.  Fellow quilter, Daléne, was waiting at my front door.  Yip, we had an appointment and with my i Pad (which is my diary) having ran out of battery life..... I couldn't check!

Incidents like these however make me appreciate myself being so organized for I've already been through my house swishing and swiping and was dressed, so not a big deal after all.  I am just grateful that I didn't decide to drive anywhere and left poor Daléne to arrive with no-one home.

Daléne finished a massive Grandmother's Flower Garden top and needed me to quickly help her sandwich it.  It just goes so much faster if 2 people do this.  She had her backing and batting cut and joined to size and in a jiffy we had this biggie pinned.  With her being so much taller she struggled with back ache but we got it finished before it became unbearable.  Just look at this!

She then calmly informed me that she plans to hand quilt this - all of the very best Daléne, rather you than me!

Hand stitching the border applique

I joined the other 3 border strips to my quilt on Wednesday but I taught a class again and didn't get to do anything else.

However when I got up this morning before my family even left for work or I got dressed I quickly glue basted the applique shapes to the second border.  With this in place and on my table I can work on it between doing household chores.

I would so like to stick to this quilt and get it done with but my head is already spinning with a new project which sadly is not one of my current UFO's!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Dinner

I don't watch much TV unless it is tennis but occasionally there would be a series that both DH and I would follow and to get myself to sit in one spot for long enough, I need to take hand work along.  So with one border sewn to my Simple Yet Elegant quilt I pinned the applique shapes in place and started doing these while watching 'Survivor' with DH Monday evening.

Then on Tuesday evening a couple of us 'old people' went out to a Valentine's Dinner organized by a local church.

We had an absolute stunning hostess who kept us drinking in every word she said if we could stop laughing long enough to actually listen and she made the evening well worth the while.

Good food, good wine and great company topped it off.

It was just Rina that got a little confused.  Look here:
"I pledge my heart to you"...... her own husband

"......but I'd just like to sit a little closer to you"........ NOT her husband

Then she obviously remembered who had to take her home and had some serious sucking up to do!

I got into bed and slept until 2am, woke up - I suspect the wine had something to do with the big thirst I had that time of the morning - and finished the applique on the one border of my quilt.  Got back into bed around 4 am and slept further.  Hopefully today I can attach the second border.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Simple Yet Elegant BOM - Preparing border applique

This weekend I kept my head down preparing the freezer paper applique pieces for my Simple Yet Elegant quilt borders.  I already have the borders measured and cut to size and I knew the freezer paper shapes were the last obstacle before I can start the hand sewing.

Now it may not look like much being bagged neatly here but there are exactly 188 little applique pieces!!

Then when taking a break from these I read our quarterly guild magazine and a fellow quilter does charity work by teaching domestic workers to make projects using yo-yo's and asked our help with fabric or fabric circles.

Having an Accuquilt Go I could help with this and in no time had two containers with what I guess should be more than 1000 circles.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Simple Yet Elegant BOM - Joining the rows

With dinner served I saw that I still had a couple of hours left to start adding my sashings so I got going.  I had to absolutely sterilize the kitchen before I started as we had avocado and it is terribly poisonous to parrots, so I didn't want to leave any trace of it anywhere.

I finished all the vertical sashings just before midnight and decided to call it a day when the two kittens could think of no better place in our entire house to play than just my sewing table.

Started a new free motion class the evening and the work on my quilt stopped for a while.  However I only slept until 2 am, tried to sleep again but gave up just before 3am and then got up to do the horizontal sashings.

Now the top will have to be folded and put away as I have to hand applique the borders and this should keep me busy for some time.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Simple Yet Elegant BOM - Sashings

Still early morning after squaring my blocks I started auditioning fabric for the sashings.  I have plenty of fabric in my stash and even though I knew I might not have a big enough piece I would be able to see which color would work best.

I liked the orange and green in the fabric to the front of the photo but the background cream was way too light. I didn't like the cream between the blocks further away in the photo.

I tried more colors and finally had an idea on which way to go.  The next morning I phoned Karin - she's on crutches with a bad heel - and took her along to our local PFAFF to help.  Karin has a good eye for color and with her and Marie (PFAFF dealer) I couldn't go wrong and I wasn't too surprised when we ended up deciding the green would work the best.  It was the color I finally decided on at home as well.
Karin and I then had red velvet cake and coffee with quilting friend Rina, who just returned from a dentist appointment, still a little shook up.  She's petrified of dentists!  Back home had to prepare dinner for my hungry ones and didn't get to do much but at least I purchased my fabric.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Simple Yet Elegant BOM - Packing and squaring

Okay, goodie bag project done, I could return to one of my BOM's - Simple Yet Elegant from The Quilt Pattern Magazine.  I tried to keep the blocks in the same order as they appeared on the pattern but when I put these next to each other I found that I had a rather light spot bottom left (unfortunately my photo was taken too close and it omitted the problem area.)

I then swapped the heart block at the bottom with the bird block at the top and it looked more balanced.

Then we went for dinner by Karin and at first I thought I would only continue the next day as we returned home rather late.

However I slept until 2:45 and then I was as awake as could be.  So I got up and started squaring my blocks.  I enlarged the pattern as I wanted it to comfortably fit over a double bed, so instead of making the blocks 12" as per pattern I made them 16".

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Ahead with my goodie bag projects

Once done with one personal finish for 2012 I had to focus on our 2013 National Quilt Festival and work on another batch of goodie bag projects.  Luckily fellow quilter, Rina, paid someone to quilt 10 meters of background fabric on a long arm quilt maching.  It save me a lot as I then just had to cut the backings to size before attaching the rest.

Karin and I divided this task between the 2 of us with 65 projects over a period of 20 months between the 2 of us.  If I do one more batch I would only be halfway, yikes!!

My contribution for May 2012 - yip, I'm already living in the future.

Monday, February 06, 2012

August 2011 PFAFF Block Lotto winnings

Remember the blocks I made for our PFAFF Block Lotto in this post?

Turns out I never wrote that I won this batch of blocks on my own blog but I did write about it on our guild's blog over HERE.

After winning the blocks they ended up in a drawer in my sewing room until we had an 'all-night-quilting' session and I started working on these again.  I won 30 blocks but made 25 more as I wanted the quilt to cover a double bed.  I didn't get to do much during the 'all-night-quilting' but got to finish it little by little with plenty of help from the cats.  Extremely frustrating.

I decided on an all over feather design for the free motion and finally I have my first finish for 2012

Completed:  5 February 2012