Well that was a break from blogging that I didn’t expect to be quite so long. 2014 is done and dusted. It was a year of changes (some big and some smaller ones), challenges, sad… More
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!
Here is a little collection of photos from this month…
Couch time, tea and Game of Thrones book 3
Finished my Frenchy Bag (Amy Butler)
Experimented with recreating a fav eclair from a local bakery…was so good but a little big 🙂
Made the most amazing chocolate ice-cream to take to a friends for dessert!
Went strawberry picking for the first time this season! and yes they all got eaten!
Hanging out in the strawberry patch! + new hair cut 😉
Knitting up a storm on my first jumper!
Year of the finished project continues….Dasiy Chain quilt
Chain piecing while watching Thor 🙂
2 Swoon blocks have been joined by 3 more…only 4 to go!
I have officially been bitten by the knitting bug…
It’s almost as bad as fabric the way the stash starts to grow and expand…
Now a little something that you should know before I go on…I can be a bit of a perfectionist….(I can just see my mum rolling her eyes as she reads that line)
Usually if something doesn’t look right or I have made a mistake I will unpick or pull it to pieces and fix it.
When I was home visiting a while ago both Mum and Nan thought it was funny that I had never learnt to knit! So I go a few lessons and headed back to Adelaide with a new fascination. It was the basic skills of knit and purl and if I dropped a stitch I had no idea how to pick it up. I would just undo the whole thing and start again…after a lot of practice I managed to get the basics under control.
This year I decided that I wanted to learn to knit socks from the toe up…the first pattern that I chose was the first time I had ever come across a lace chart and from what I had read online I was intrigued by double-pointed needles, how hard could it be…..
It was a big thing for me to figure out how to do it and an even bigger thing for me to just keep knitting even when I noticed I had made a mistake in the pattern two rows back.
It was tough but I have learnt to embrace the imperfections that come along with learning a new skill. The side effect is I am now hooked on knitting socks!!
Work has been massively busy for me lately so I have found it more soothing to sit on the couch with a cuppa and knit in the evenings instead of being upstairs with my sewing machine.
Overall I am really happy with how they turned out and enjoyed making the second sock more as I had gotten used to the needles and the pattern.
Pattern: Diagonal Lace Socks (From Wendy Johnston’s book ‘Socks from the toe up’)
Yarn : Madelinetosh Sock in Black Velvet
On Ravelry here
EDIT 17 October 2012 : Okay so this post has been sitting as a draft for a little while…. I have now cast on and finished my second pair of socks and a few other things…
Yarn: Skein Sock – Kaffir Lime
On Ravelry here
These I didn’t enjoy as much as the first pair and they are a little tight around the ankle but I am hoping they will stretch.
I have also finished a shawl which I have sent my best friend Alissa for her birthday!
Pattern: Marin by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Madeline Tosh Sock – Tern
On Ravelry here
I loved knitting this pattern! It was interesting and I learnt how to do cables!!! Who would have thought they were that easy!! I have been scared of them for EVER! This is a pattern that I will knit again and it only took me about 2 weeks from start to finish.
And last but not least here are my broken seed socks that I am taking my time knitting. I love the colours and how they are turning out. The aim is to make them as long as possible!
Pattern: Broken seed socks
Yarn: Skein Top draw sock in Barley & Noro Silk Garden Sock
On Ravelry here
Things have been a little quiet in blog land but boy have they been busy in real life!
I had a big push in July to finish two quilts to take back to NSW when I went for a recent trip home.
The first one was a baby quilt which came together really fast.
Pattern : Made it up as I went
Fabric: Vintage Modern
I had a lot of fun with the bunting. I ironed some vliesofix on the back of a few charm squares and then cut out triangles. Once I was happy with the positioning I ironed them in place. With my FMQ foot on the Bernina I stitched twice around each triangle then moved to the next one creating the linked bunting.
As time was short and I wanted to take this quilt back with me when I visited I stuck with FMQ a stippling pattern and just quilted up to the edges on the triangle bunting.
The backing is from Vintage Modern and I am in love with it!
I had the little red and white scallop fabric in my stash and thought it would suit as binding and I love how it turned out!
The second quilt that I managed to finish I time for my visit home was a birthday gift for my auntie.
Pattern : Dream Big Camille Roskelly
Fabric: Kate Spain Terrain
Binding: Simply Colour V and Co
Backing: Green wideback print broken up by left over terrain and basic white.
As long as I can remember my auntie has loved green and purple. Kate Spain’s fabric is just the perfect way to tie those two colours in with the bright and jewel tones.
This top took forever to put together but it was quite satisfying watching it grow. If you are going to make this top I recommend having the pieces set out in order somewhere out-of-the-way or at least some way to pack them up without losing the order. I had the pieces on my craft room floor for a few weeks and was constantly having to step around it. This did encourage me to work on it more often so it could get moved off the floor.
Over all I am pretty happy with the finished quilt. Initially I was worried that the green on the back was the wrong choice. Once it was broken up by the left over terrain and white I was satisfied that it wasnt too much.
Oh and I nearly forgot the binding! This mini jelly roll by V and Co was fantastic to use as I couldn’t pick one colour to use and it was already in my stash 🙂
My Auntie absolutely loved the quilt and I think it will be well used in coming years.
Okay time to get off and finish a quilt that I am excited about but can’t show you yet!!
Pattern: Thimble Blossoms – Wild things
Fabric: Rural Jardin French General for Moda, Linen, Send in the crown – Michael Miller and Woven Quad Stripe – French General.
Woo hoo cross another project off the unfinished list!!!
I began this quilt not too long after I started quilting. It was the first pattern that I had ever ordered online after finding Camille Rosekelly of Simplify. It was a really easy and satisfying pattern to sew. Yet for some reason when I finished the quilt top, I folded it up neatly and put it on the shelf. It has taken me nearly 14 months to get this quilt top back out and finished. As it is ‘the year of the finished project’ this one was high on my list so I got searching for the perfect backing and binding fabrics.
The backing fabric is ‘Send in the Crowns’ by Michael Miller. I loved the little crowns and the colour matched in so well with the front fabric. The quilt has always been intended for use on our couch, as we currently have one quilt that can get a little squishy trying to share. Originally I was planning to back this quilt in red but as we now have red couches I decided to use the cream and blue to break it up a little more.
I started the free motion quilting on my old machine. I was planning on only quilting in the linen coloured sections. Once I had started I was not happy with the way it was turning out and just how difficult it was to try and get the quilt through the machine.
So out came the seam ripper and I spent a good couple of hours pulling out the quilting. Once that was done I went back and FMQ and all over pattern with my new sewing machine!!!! (look at the pretty!!!) So much easier and I am really happy with the result.
Stripped binding had become a favourite of mine lately. This is the second quilt that I have finished with stripes. The Red Quad Stripe is actually a woven print from French General which I have never used before. It was interesting trying to bind with it as it was a little tougher to pull the needle through but overall I love the way it turned out! And I am really happy that this quilt is finished!
***Do a little happy dance***
Now there is some debate out there that every quilt should have a label with is particular details. But to be honest I didn’t see the point in making a sewn on label for this one as it isn’t a gift and it will be used by us for many years to come. Instead in my online travels I found a roll of ‘made by me’ labels that I thought were really cute. I think they are intended as clothes labels but instead I stitched one into the binding on the back as a little tag! I love love love how it turned out!
Into the wash the whole thing went and out to the line…..a few hours later a new quilt to curl up on the couch with! And a well earned coffee!
Happy creating peeps!
26 years ago while living in the UK, Mum purchased quite a few packets of precut hexagons from Laura Ashley. They were reduced to a ridiculous price at the time so Mum snapped them up. For as long as I can remember every time we came across them in the fabric stash Mum always said that this would be her retirement project as the process to make the Grandmas flower garden quilt takes quite a bit of time and effort.
Since starting quilting and learning a bit more about paper piecing I began to fully understand why these beautiful fabrics had been hiding away for so long! What a process to tack each one then hands sew them together….
Until recently when I spotted in Vignette a ‘cheats’ way to paper piecing hexagons….using temporary fabric glue!!! Who knew!!!
Next time I was home visiting, Mum and I pulled out the packets of hexagons and we headed to the local patchwork store to purchase the right sized pre-cut papers and Sewline glue sticks. We could have cut our own papers out but to be honest with the number of hexagons in the packets I was pretty keen for pre-cuts!
Over the Christmas holidays while at home Mum and I worked our way through gluing all of the hexagons. Quite a few movies were watched and only one extra trip to the fabric store to buy more glue was needed (well any excuse to go back to the fabric store).
The aim this year is to hand sew all the hexagons into the basic flower shape and then we will figure out what layout to finally assemble the quilt top.
This project is now in my pile of ‘evening’ projects. I like to sit after dinner and do some quiet stitching so I rotate through hand projects while sitting on the couch. If I get annoyed or over one I swap to something else for a while.
With only 43 days left till Christmas I have been busy sewing up a storm. I had the crazy idea earlier in the year to have a crafty Christmas by trying to make as many Christmas gifts as possible. Especially for my grandmothers who I always find it so hard to find them gifts as their birthday is so close to Christmas.
Who would guess that both my grandmas would be born on the same day of the year and only two weeks out from Christmas!
Yep that would be mine!!
So for the Nanna I picked out some assorted pinks and whites to go with her room, the pattern I chose came from ‘Two from one Jelly Roll Quilts.
I must admit I found the pattern a little odd in the description of where you need to cut the triangle but with a little creative fiddling I worked out the best way to cut so there was minimal wastage.
This has been the first time I have worked with lots and lots of triangles. The main issue I had with this pattern was the bulk of the seams if I pressed to one side. In the end I decided to try pressing the seams open to help reduce the bulk, which fingers crossed should make quilting a little easier when I get to it.
Here is the finished quilt top….pretty!
For the Gran I used a layer cake of ‘Butterfly Garden’ by Kansas Troubles Quilters, the pattern that I adapted was from ‘Simplify’ by Camille Roskelley. I love this pattern book and have so far made four of the patterns. But for this one instead of using a charm pack I picked out my favourite 20 layer cake squares and used those to make a bigger quilt.
Here is the finished quilt top…this one was definitely one of those patterns that came together really fast which I LOVED!
Both quilt tops are now awaiting layering, basting and free motion quilting. I will post pictures of the finished quilts when they are complete.
I have also been playing with some other little gifts from Sweetwaters’ new fabric line ‘Reunion’….but more on that later.
Well back to it! Those days are ticking away fast!