So… I’m BACK!

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 loses and readjusting.

Don’t worry though, crafting has been happening!! At times it has been the only thing keeping me sane.

So now that we have relocated to the beautiful Port Macquarie area, we have been getting settled, exploring, renovating and loving life. Here is a few photos from the last couple of months.

Friday run done right

Friday run done right…best running view

 

Reno time

Replacing the back deck…DIY!

 

New visitors

Had some visitors in our front tree.

 

view at the top of the stairs

The view at Harry’s lookout. A worthy reward for making it up the evil stairs from Shelly Beach

 

knitting in the wild

Knitting in the wild at Town Beach (opal sprinkle socks)

 

more new visitors

 The front tree is popular with the visitors.

 

So I look forward to sharing some more crafting with you next time 🙂

xCass

 

 

 

Happy 2014!

I hope Christmas and New Year was a nice break for everyone! I have some great crafty plans this year but before we can get into those I have three quilt finished to share with you from last year (yes I’m a slack blogger!)

quilt 1

This one was made for my lovely cousin Bec who was joking with me last Christmas about what a girl has to do to get a quilt. I made this one in secret and to be honest it is the first quilt that I have had soooooo much trouble giving away…It sat on my couch for a week before I attached the label. I thought maybe, just maybe I could keep it but no it was made especially for Bec and to be honest the look on her face when I gave it to her was worth it.Excited!

The pattern, Flock together is from Sarah Fielke’s Quilting from little things book. I had such fun with this pattern and I think down the track I will make another one for me. There are lots and lots of small triangles to cut out and sew together but it was an interesting pattern and a skill that I hadn’t tried before.  When I read the pattern first and how the block was constructed I found it confusing but when you are actually doing it the instructions are really clear and you can see why you leave some seems open.WIP

The main fabrics I used were Cosmo cricket – Cream numbers on Red, Bonnie and Camille – Ruby Red Floral, Sarah Watts – Fawn in Birch Blue, Modern Meadow Herringbone Pond. The cream fabrics were from my stash. The smaller coloured triangles I went stash diving for most and added some extras from a few charm packs I had on hand.

This is the first quilt I straight line quilted and I love the effect and how the quilting doesn’t take away from the fabric and pattern. But I would advise that you have a good couple of movies to watch while you straight line quilt because it takes FOREVER! (well it feels that way).

I loved these colours and overall it was a really enjoyable quilt to work on.

IMG_9665

Second finish is a quilt for the man! We have two quilts that we usually use on the couch but Bryce finds that his feet stick out the end and get cold (and the quilt he uses is a little girly) So we measured out how much longer and wider he wanted it and I went to work making a double hourglass quilt for him. I really love how this one turned out using Sweetwater’s Reunion fabric line.

IMG_9666

The backing was a mixture of Kaffe Aboriginal dots in grey, a few spare double hour glass blocks and some architexture trees print by Carolyn Friedlander.

IMG_9667

It now lives happily on the couch and has been getting used year round so far.

Lastly was a smaller quilt for a lovely friend at work who was pregnant with their first child. It provided another chance to experiment with a neutral quilt as they were not planning on finding out the sex of the baby. I chose to use the half square triangle block of the month patterns available on the In Color Order blog (http://www.incolororder.com/p/block-of-month.html)

The fabric was all pulled from my stash (Yay me!!) and I chose grey and yellows and oranges.IMG_0746

I kept the quilting simple with just my standard all over wondering and managed to get it finished right in time for the baby shower. IMG_0752

So that’s if from finished quilts in 2013.  Did you have a successful finish to your crafting plans from 2013?

xC

The star quilt!!!

Bliss…pure bliss is the feeling of a finished quilt that has been in various stages of creation during the last three years.

star obsession

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.

The challenges…

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.

so not my normal colours

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.

star basting

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.

quilting plan #100000000

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.

quilting the star quilt

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.

xC

Catch up…

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!

canberra

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!)

Car knitting

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.

dolphins

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. IMG_0513

So hopefully this early creativity will last a little longer!

xC