Well…it appears that another almost 2 years have disappeared in a whirlwind of work, crafting, exercising, new dog ownership and running achievements! I have been struggling for a while trying to get my sewing mojo… More
So….where did 6 months go??
It has been a busy six months and I have been crafting along, just a little slack at posting any progress.
I have a couple of finished quilts to show you but I think they can wait till next time.
Lets get into the knitting!!! The needles have be busy busy busy. My role at work has recently changed a bit which has increased my work load and responsibilities. I find it more challenging and down right hard at times but I think it is an experience that will benefit me long after I move on to a different project.
With the longer hours at work I have been finding it relaxing to knit on the couch after dinner to wind down from the day.
So I have three lots of socks on the needles (one basic rib/one plain vanilla/ and these ones), finished a second Habitat beanie, finished the Through The Loops – Mystery Shawl, I learnt how to crochet granny squares (used this website) just so I can make a blanket like this one and I knit my man a jumper!
It is warming up here in Adelaide so many of these things wont get much wear this year. But I have enjoyed making them knowing that they will get lots of wear next year.
I will leave it at that today and it is one of my goals to be a little more consistent with posting. I have some finished quilts and an epic birthday weekend in Melbourne to share!
Bliss…pure bliss is the feeling of a finished quilt that has been in various stages of creation during the last three years.
I am massively proud of this quilt and have learnt so much along the journey. This quilt was the first time I really stepped away from the safety of pre-cuts and already colour coordinated fabric.
The pattern comes from Material Obsessions 2, which is one of my very favourite books to look through for inspiration. I also have a slight thing for stars… so I think that was part of the reason why I kept coming back to this quilt. The colours were so unlike anything I had ever worked with before and I couldn’t wait to step out of my comfort zone.
Most of the fabric I purchased locally and I am sorry to say that at the time it was my first really bad experience with shopping in a quilt store with staff who were not friendly and helpful. I think my lack of grey hair and a senior’s card may have contributed to this. Since then I have had a few more experiences like this and now tend to pick the stores I go to.
1. Cutting all the diamond shapes took forever and I was very worried about them stretching while I was piecing. I used a heap of starch to try and help with this but there were a few that I think stretched and some of the points didn’t match up as closely as they could have.
2. Y seams…at one stage I thought these were going to be the death of me! I lost count of how many times I had to use the seam ripper but I think they got better as I got the hang of the concept.
Once I had finished the quilt top it was folded up and packed away for quite a while until I could find some suitable backing fabric. I am not usually an orange person but I decided to use two of my favourite two prints from the stars. It took me a while to get hold of enough of both prints to complete a simple pieced back for the quilt.
For the quilting I came close a number of times to sending this one out to a long arm quilter as there was no way I would have managed to get this one through my old machine. It was the biggest quilt I have made to date. But every time I would go to send it I would pack it back up and think one day I might be able to quilt it myself…back in to the cupboard it went.
So once I got my new machine I was determined to quilt this one. I really like what a long arm quilter can do and the patterns that can be made but there is something I just love about knowing that I have created this quilt from the start to the very finish.
I spent weeks drawing quilting plans and trying to decide on one. I kept changing my mind until I finally pulled out the top and backing, gave them all a good iron, put on a movie and spend the afternoon basting the quilt. The book that helped me decide which way to quilt this one was ‘Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters’. Her designs and tips and tricks are fantastic.
In the end I had to slightly change the quilting plan but I am so happy with the finished result! It now lives on our bed and it has been so satisfying to see it finished and sleep under it.
On a side note, Kathy Dougherty, the pattern designer and one of the authors of the Material Obsessions books has been facing her own challenge at the moment and I wish her all the strength and determination she needs to get through. I have visited the Material Obsessions shop in Sydney and met Kathy as well as seeing her on her recent trip to Adelaide. I enjoy reading her blog and getting an insight in to her thought process with her quilting and thoughts on life in general.
So thank you Kathy for inspiring me to step out of my comfort zone, giving me new skills to learn and I wish you strength and patience for your recovery.
Imagine a hot summer’s day; school is out for the holidays. You have managed to get your dad to agree on driving you and your two closest friends to the beach for a few hours so you can all go surfing. A moment captured at the end of the day…
One picture….such sweet memories! Fast forward 12 years and the three of us have stayed friends through moving far and wide (3 different states in Australia!) and enjoyed the challenges that have faced us in our chosen paths including new jobs, relationships and living in the crazy grown up world.
Then there was the exciting trip to watch Skye became a Mrs and another photo of sweet memories…
When Skye rang me and told me that her and her husband were expecting their first baby it was exciting!!! And what’s a best friend meant to do?? Get straight on the phone to the other bestie Alissa and organise a quilt for the baby bug from both of us!!
At the time the gender of the baby was remaining a secret so with a little planning and knowing how much the parents are beach people we decided to use the red, white, yellow and blue along with the sea side prints and panels that I had in my stash. We settled on the granny squares tutorial from Blue Elephant Stitches.
It felt fantastic to be able to work on a project with someone so far away. Modern technology is a blessing! There were many a skype date and picture messages flying back and forward to agree on the layout.
The granny squares were fantastic but I think if I ever decided to do another one there will be more starch involved….all I can say is starch the hell out of the blocks! I had a little bit of trouble with the first few stretching on the bias.
I quilted it with an all-over wavy pattern and the binding was the red aboriginal dots by Kaffe Fassett that I usually keep in my stash (seriously I have like 8 different colour ways of this print)
After it was all finished I posted the bundle off to Alissa who added to the card and had a look at the finished quilt before sending it to Skye in Queensland.
They loved the quilt and little Miss Bug has been using it lots already!
Each and every day I am thankful that I got two such AWESOME friends. Every time we call, text, email, Skype or catch up in person it feels like we haven’t spent months living in other states, it’s like we have just caught up for coffee and we only saw each other yesterday.
I had a few posts sitting in the draft folder for a while but I think it is a little late to post them all so I think we shall have a quick recap over what happened in the life of Cass to round out 2012.
In November I travelled to Canberra for a long weekend with my bestie! It was so great to get out of Adelaide for a little while, hang out with an awesome chicka and enjoy the Canberra vibe! We did a little crafty shopping, ate toooo many pancakes and the best choc malt thick shake I have ever had at the Pancake Parlour, rolled down the side of Parliament house just like we did as kids…I do think the police man was laughing at me!
We also caught up with my old house mate Tess, they took me to this amazing store called Handmade…if you are in Canberra you should definitely check it out!
In the lead up to Christmas I only planned one handmade gift for 2012, which I am kind of happy about as it was a very busy end to the year work wise. I was thankful that any crafting I managed to fit in was more relaxing and a bit of a time out from other things.
Late December we drove 1600kms in 16.5hours to spend Christmas with the family. Bryce and I shared the driving but the high point of the trip was discovering that I can knit in the car!!! So when it wasn’t my turn to drive and I wasn’t napping or eating lollies I was knitting! I remember as a kid the long car trips we did as a family and I usually had my head stuck in a book or playing a Gameboy, but as I got older reading in the car was no longer an option as I would start to get sick. It was nice to discover that I can now be productive while being a passenger. I managed to knit the majority of a pair of socks on the way over and put a large dent in my Selbu beanie on the way back (I did have to laugh as the day I cast off and wove the ends in it was a 35 degree day in Adelaide…at least when winter rolls around I will be set for socks and beanies!)
It was fantastic to catch up with everyone back in Port Stephens and enjoy the festive spirit, eat lots and lots of food…including one slice too many of Grans’ Lemon Meringue Pie, go boating, see dolphins and go swimming! We don’t live far from the beach in Adelaide, but there is something special about the beaches in Port Stephens that I do miss.
Once we were back in Adelaide we had some well-earned rest time with a few adventures thrown in. We saw the Cirque de solei show called OVO with friends who are moving to Adelaide (it was AMAZING), tried stand up paddle boarding which was awesome, and hid inside from the insane temperatures that have been attacking Australia.
So we are now nearing the end of January and have just enjoyed the Australia Day long weekend. I got motivated and managed to complete about half of the quilting on the star quilt, made some noodlehead zipper bags and plan some new challenges for quilting this year. I also watched 2 really great tennis matches on TV (I’m not usually a tennis watcher but I really enjoyed the Australian Open this year) and got an early start on a secret knitting project that I won’t be able to share for a little while.
So hopefully this early creativity will last a little longer!