Sunday, October 15, 2017

Eye of the Storm – 1

I bought myself a PDF Bargello pattern called Eye of the Storm (and for October 2017 most patterns on THIS SITE are less 50%) and once I decided on my colour and found all the fabric needed, I could start cutting 2½” strips from all 6 colours. The quilt on the pattern was in purple but being from central South Africa, with very little rain, our storms are usually just masses of dust, so I chose browns.
The next step was to lay out my strips according to colour and sew these together, praying the whole time that one of the cats wouldn’t jump on my strips and distort the order.
I tried glue basting and it worked fantastic.  Once I’ve laid out a series of strips, I glue basted and heat set these and could go to the machine in one session and simply string piece the seams.  I am not too sure I would use it for ordinary blocks but for Bargello’s it is a definite must! Glue basting also helped when I woke up at 4 am and without waking up granddaughter, whose room is opposite of my sewing room, with the noise of the machine I could start getting strip sets ready.
Only on page 3 of the instructions and this is already the amount that I’ve sewn.  These are not necessarily all single strip sets, some are sets of 5 (all pinned together).

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Magnolia Mystery – 2

I am not getting much done on the quilting front…. Reached a slump I guess but I am still sorting out my new storage space and have opened up and got rid of temporary plastic storage drawers.  I’ve tried a technique when I overheard 2 embroiderers discussing their way of doing free motion quilting (actually they embroider motifs on a quilt) but it failed miserably when trying this on a domestic sewing machine.  So 4 solid days of unpicking was part cause of my quilt time wasted.

Let me move on to better news.  The second sewing clue for this mystery quilt arrived on time, in fact, earlier than I expected.  Being South African my clues seem to arrive long after the rest of the world receives theirs.

So this was what my sewing table looked like one Friday afternoon after work.
And once sewn together I had only these two stacks.  Now I have to wait yet another month for the next clue.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Birthday fabric One Block Wonder – 5 -Final

Started off very enthusiastically trying to quilt with metallic thread but after 6 thread breakages in the span of 14 inches I gave up.  Some wars are simply best left alone, so I did what I said I’ll do in the previous post and opted for a bright yellow.

I tried to use my “non-hopping” ruler foot for all-over quilting and this worked like a breeze and in future I might only use this instead of switching feet when not doing ruler work (not as if I have used rulers before).

So with the last sentence in mind I tried my hand a ruler work and I guess for a first try I should have gone with a thread colour less contrasting to the fabric as this combination showed up every little flaw.
Fortunately unpicking the contrasting thread was not that hard and after all the trials and errors I opted to make it easier on myself and chose a large scale all-over meandering covering the 3 borders.
Another one bites the dust!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Packing Space

On one of hubby’s frequent business trips, going through a quaint little town, known for selling antiques, he noticed something on the pavement in front of a pawn shop.  Aware of my quilt addiction and my need for plenty of storage space but not necessarily deep drawers, rather flatter but MORE space in one cupboard/storage area he stopped and made a purchase.

Previously this little green plastic rack used to be my paper sorter/container…. Fugly to say the least and now I could replace it with this wooden one. I turned the wooden one to face my computer, so people entering the room would not be able to see the mess inside but just see a wooden frame.  So much neater!
The second purchase was this divine little cupboard with flatter but more (30 in total) storage spaces.  It was just what I needed for all my accessories and tools.  I have heaps of these scattered in several drawers or spaces inside cupboards and always wished for one central area to store all of these. Hubby just added the little doors for me.  Neat or what?  I can hardly wait to start packing and sorting.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Birthday fabric One Block Wonder – 4

Before going to bed on Sunday eve, I had my top assembled thus achieving my goal for the weekend. And if you are looking for the mistake I mentioned in my previous post….. I fixed it (irrespective of what I may look like from behind, my conscience is still bigger than my butt)!
Monday was a little rougher in that after work, I had to clean the birds’ room (another one of hubby’s chores that I had to take over, this week) and run some errands for the office before I could even think of quilting but I still managed to add two borders to my quilt top.
Tuesday I had to wash carpets.  Having 3 huge dogs, each having a couple of favourite spots on which to chew their juiciest bone, our carpets never stay clean for long.  I however noticed we tend to make a cleaning job a much bigger issue than it really is.  Got home, spot sprayed two rooms and let the cleaning agent sit.  Went to my sewing room, started doing either cutting, pinning, single seam stitching or whatever was next on the agenda and then returned to room 1 to wash the carpet, break to quilt, spray room 3 and this went on and before long I not only had a house with clean carpets but the third and final border sewn onto my quilt.

Wednesday off to my favourite Pfaff dealer to get backing and backing and then I sat behind my Pfaff Grand Quilter to practise my overall free-motion pattern…… wait for it….. with metallic thread.  Lots of prayers need to be sent my way, please.

Then it was time to go outside to my newly discovered (but actually old) quilt basting table and before any cat could become annoying on this blanket mom put outside, I had the basting done.

Now I am disappearing from the blogging world for a while as I have to focus on SLOW and painfully patient quilting hoping to become good friends with the metallic thread…. Otherwise I’ll just quilt the thing in yellow thread and pretend it is gold. Oh and I am trying out my new ruler foot without the hopping motion.  I just figured I paid a fortune for it, if I can only use one foot instead of changing all the time, I might as well do it, so wish me luck.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Birthday fabric One Block Wonder – 3

With hubby away on a golf break for a week, I’ve set way too many quilting goals for myself.  With all I planned, a day should have twice as many hours and I forgot that I still had to go to the office daily (couldn’t also take off), has to take over all hubby’s chores, so walking the dogs twice a day and checking on the garden too has to fit into a single day.

I however set this weekend out to make good progress on my Birthday OBW which I did.  Started joining the half hexes in strips and all went just fine, then started joining strips in pairs when I saw THIS BIG BOOBOO!

The worst part is that I already saw this as I put the half hexes up on the design wall and eliminated this hexagon seeing that I had 3 that wouldn’t be put to use.  Somehow, somewhere it must have crept back into the final layout.  Bummer!  Not a good mood-setter for the rest of the week.  I am still contemplating whether to unpick and fix or just let it be.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Trip to Smithfield

One of the smaller towns some 1½ hours’ drive from us hosts a quilt day once a year and this year quilting friend, Karin and I, decided to attend but the sad part is that we never even took a single photo, not of us in the car, the venue, the quilts or our fellow quilters.  We are really getting old!

For such a small group they did everything right.  We had no less than 4 demonstrations and way-way too much to eat with the most interesting lunch I’ve had in a LONG time.

My Snowflake Splendour One Block Wonder won the second prize in the viewers’ choice after I didn’t want to enter it initially, Karin took over and gave it for display.  I will have to share my prize money with her.

This week our men are taking a golfing break and our plans for this ‘time-out’ is to do very little but quilting, so hopefully I will have some progress to post about after this week.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Magnolia Mystery - 1

Up early one morning, working through the blogs I follow on The Old Reader, I came across a new mystery quilt over HERE.

Now the one thing that bugs me about most mysteries are that the completed size is seldom given with the fabric requirements and I would dread going through the process of making a mystery to end up with a small wall hanging or table topper (I simply just don’t like these or then prefer quilts to be on my beds).  This one however gave you a choice for the completed size and when I saw QUEEN I was as in as could be.

I am still trying to work away some of my stash and had to search through this for my fabric choices.  This is what I came up with.
As usual, everything I was busy doing came to a halt when I got the cutting instructions.  Here most of the cutting is done.

The first stitching instruction appeared on the first Thursday of September (and the next will be posted every first Thursday of the next months) I stayed on track and did my homework. A total of 72 half square triangle blocks done.
We had an ill granddaughter over for the weekend so very little quilting happened.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Birthday fabric One Block Wonder – 2

Friend Karin came over for an all-night quilt session of Friday and after the men treated us with barbequed pork belly served with salad and Bovril potatoes, we set off to my sewing room.  Karin started cutting her fabric, also purchased in Port Elizabeth, while at the festival for her One Block Wonder and I continued sewing my triangles into half hexagon units.

However we are getting old now and by 02:10 we called it a night and each went to a room and slept the rest of the time.  In our defence though, Karin had electricians working inside her house and I baby sat our little man, so we couldn’t take a quick afternoon nap.
We did however make good progress and after leaving here the next morning, Karin and her hubby drove to their cabin at the dam where she continued sewing outside.
It however took me quite a while to feel motivated being too tired and I could only continue late the next afternoon but before the end of the weekend I had my 70 hexagons sewn in halves and ironed flat.  Now the tedious work of arranging these must start.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Snowflake splendour One Block Wonder quilt based on a panel – The End

Hubby was on a business trip out of town today and even though I do exactly what I would every other day somehow I just feel as if I have more time on hand.

I didn’t have to cook dinner for us but I cooked up a mean pot of beef stew with carrots and spinach (camouflaged in beef stock) for the dogs.  Took my quilt outside and did the back binding by hand, fed the birds, caught up on a recorded documentary and finally I can show my very first One Block Wonder.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Birthday fabric One Block Wonder – 1

I actually set out this weekend to do the free motion quilting on my Snowflake Splendour panel One Block Wonder but I can only free motion this much before I need a distraction.

While at the Port Elizabeth festival I fell in love with a piece of fabric, thinking Stack a Whack or Kaleidoscope and while seriously looking at the fabric, quilting friend Karin, entered the room and when I asked for 6 repeats of the fabric, she paid for it as my birthday present.  What a gift!
In between doing the free motion quilting I tackled this, one step at a time and pretty soon I had my triangles cut and can now start sewing my hexagons.

These go so fast and are so easy that I often wonder why we don’t start off with this as a beginner quilt.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Snowflake splendour OBW quilt based on a panel – 2

Once I had the top and bottom section of the panel measured through the width, I had to cut my panel back to fit, trimmed the top and bottom straight and added these to the panel and finally the side panels/strips could be added.
I don’t really care for wall hangings or table runners but prefer my quilts to fit on a bed, any bed, be it a cot or King Size extra length bed.  Therefor most of my quilts need borders and here I’ve completed the top with the borders. Again due to the lack of distance I get when taking a photo on the design wall, this had to be taken at an angle.
I then decided to add some applique just for the fun of it.
Finally the quilt top was done and now to start quilting.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A world of knowledge out there

Occasionally ….. just occasionally I chastise myself for all the time spend on the computer reading up on quilting but really there are just so much knowledge, so much to take in and so much to learn from.  So I will keep reading until I’ve taken in all my little brain can handle.

Sometimes however I read something seemingly “simply said” and a light bulb would go off in my head.  We have a lovely 2 x 2 meter marble table basically two steps from my kitchen door.  The only time we don’t sit there is during winter as it is simply too cold, otherwise I’d be at and use this table DAILY. 
When I however need to baste a quilt, I went through so much trouble, either on my knees on a floor or setting up metal tables in our garage, meaning the cars had to be pulled out and the tables in storage, cleaned.  Then I read THIS blog post describing how this quilter uses an outside table to baste her quilts.

Voila….. the light bulb worked, why I never thought of using this table for basting, heaven only knows.  Quick-quick I had everything needed to start.
So I got going and not two ticks later, my quilt was layered and after spray basting a little I used Pinmoors to secure all, should I not get to quilting immediately.
Now this too turned out to be a good lesson learnt on the internet.  I bought my Pinmoors years ago from and thought these were rather pricey but blamed it to the pathetic performance of our currency against the Dollar and Euro.

However I read that quilters from the States and Canada also complained about the price and one quilter said she used Baxter’s Rod (if I remember correctly) used in plumbing and waterproofing.  So off I went to the hardware store but everyone just stared at me when I asked for Baxter’s Rod, no-one had a clue what I referred to no matter how hard I tried to explain until I lost it and said okay just leave me I’ll do my own searching through your shop.  Isles and isles later, another light bulb…. Not quite round but it serves the same purpose, I found this..
And this is how I use it (exactly the same as Pinmoors) at a fraction of the price.

Someone else on the WWW asked what quilters do with their off cuts batting and backing after basting and got a myriad of answers.  Mine is I keep the batt and back glue basted together add a scrap as the top whenever I need to do a practise free motion stitching.  So no waste here.

Now my last tip I think I simply experimented by myself after the WURTH representative visited our shop one day showing what they have on offer and I saw this.
I use any and every thread to quilt with, I have even used embroidery and metallic thread and I only make bed quilts washed in a washing machine and can really not report major problems with any of the thread ever used (apart from ONE INCIDENT where I pieced with wash-away thread).  

However I do occasionally struggle with frequent thread breakage and Sewer’s Aid is not only hard to come by in darkest Africa but also rather pricey, so I figured silicon is silicon be it aerosol or liquid, if one works, the other should too, so ever since I’ve been using this WURTH brand and I am as chuffed as can be.

Now I seriously have to try and bake a Savoury biltong (jerked beef or jerky) cake for my son’s birthday.  Although I enjoy cooking, baking is a real struggle …… should I try WURTH silicon spray or Sealing strip, I wonder?  This is what the cake should look like, whether I’d post my photo will have to be seen.

A wonderful weekend to all and on Monday my newest EQ course starts!  So looking forward to this.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

And then I got side-tracked OR Snowflake splendour OBW quilt based on a panel – 1

As busy as my life occasionally gets (this includes socialising with friends and family) I somehow always think I have time for yet another adventure or project and after finishing my EQ course “Catch the Waves”, I’ve enrolled for another course starting 21 August with daily lessons and homework for 6 weeks, I received my Westalee ruler quilting starter pack and would love to try it out and I’ve started THIS new quilt!

A while ago I asked our local Pfaff dealer to order me 7 repeats of this panel fabric and she always goes the extra mile when I need something.
I kept one panel intact, layered the other six, cut these stacked panels into strips and the strips into 60ยบ triangles.

Then the fun of sewing the half hexagons started, trying to find the “nicest” combination from the 3 options I have.  Once done I sorted according to most obvious colour just to make the arrangement on the design wall easier.
Deciding on the layout was the hardest part for me.  The packing, stepping back to stare, changing and repeating the process several times almost got to me. Then the disappointment when I started sewing the strips together to see how much the total top actually shrunk after stitching. It meant I would have to cut away from my centre panel way more than I wanted to.
Well at least I am trying things on my own, struggling more than I would have liked to but I had no manual, guide or rule book to go by and I think with all the little mishaps, I am doing good.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

All stacked up – 4

I attended a hilarious but very motivational Woman’s Day talk along with fellow quilter, Wilna, DIL and one of her friends this morning and had a way too big slice of chocolate cake, which now just made me lazy.

I got home and finished the last lesson of the current EQ course I did and can report that I have 5 rows of my All stacked up quilt sewn together and I am really proud as I had heaps of interruptions and little quilting time.
Just before I stitched the last of the 5 rows together, I noticed a wee bit of a mistake and for a moment there I pondered whether I should not just leave it as is and afterwards claim that it was the Amish way of deliberately making a mistake.  Knowing myself though, I thought I better fix this as should I make another mistake; my Amish story will sound somewhat far-fetched!
On the cleaning front I can also proudly say that I am still keeping my sewing room in impeccable condition, tidying it up before heading to bed at night.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

All stacked up – 3

We had the big kids over for supper on Friday and granddaughter slept over.  Our pets enjoy the family activity being in one room where they can be present too.
After granddaughter left on Saturday we were invited by Karin and her hubby for snacks, drinks and watching rugby on TV and they even gave us “take-aways” so that I didn’t have to cook on Sunday while the men played golf. 

I am doing an Electric Quilt course via internet presented by Kari Schell and boy, is this interesting?  After having had EQ for years I realised I actually knew nothing.  After work I sit at this computer waiting for my new lesson to arrive via e-mail and then I do my homework, so work on the actual sewing side has been really SLOW…..
I however made a little progress and started from the centre and sewn the two centre rows together, the layout still confuses me terribly and I frequently call hubby to see if what I do is according to the quilt layout I printed with EQ. Two down and 14 more rows to go but long before that I still need to finish a whole lot of blocks!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

All stacked up – 2

I went sale shopping with my youngest yesterday and found a pants and gown at really good prices but for my undies I had to pay full price.  My daughter however, being of a smaller size than the average person, had a ball with all the items on sale. I did not dress in appropriate shoes for a shopping spree and back home my feet were killing me, so I didn’t do much apart from taking these photos.

Unfortunately my design wall is in the passage right opposite my sewing room.  Unfortunately for the simple reason that I can’t get enough distance being inside the sewing room to take a photo of the full width of the design wall, so I had to take this photo from an angle.  I have finished one whole row from left to right and can now join these and take out the pins.

I can also not just use flannel to adhere the blocks to as our 3 huge dogs loves playing in the passage and with the wind caused by them running up and down, my blocks simply comes flying down.  So pins I will have to use.  With having a row sewn together I need fewer pins though.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

All stacked up - 1

I downloaded this free pattern over HERE 
It was designed by Linda and Carl Sullivan. You can find their website over HERE 

I immediately knew this would qualify as a quilt to bust my scraps even though the designers used Kaffe Fasset fabric (Collective Spring 2017) and I didn’t have too many scraps of these as I tend to rather use them for fussy cutting BUT (and there is somehow always a ‘but’ with my quilting) I wanted it bigger…. much bigger.

Now with most patterns simply enlarging the blocks or making more blocks will do the job but this one baffled me especially with the layout but I eventually got the hang of it.

This is the very beginning of my current project but now I have to get ready for a 60th birthday party tonight.