Friday, November 22, 2013

Tea towel challenge

My online quilting friend, Sophie, is organising a challenge for the early part of 2014. The challenge is to use a tea towel (new or vintage) and design and create a quilt with it. When Sophie did one last year I was really keen to give it a go - so of course I'm signing up for her challenge.

Join me for the Tea Towel Challenge 2014

Originally I thought I'd go for a New Zealand theme - there is a tradition here (and in other parts of the commonwealth) to buy tea towels as souvenirs. But, I really couldn't find a vintage one that caught my eye and I didn't fancy buying a new one.

I found some inspiration on Etsy and have purchased two vintage towels online. I'm not sure which one I will use (maybe I'll do two), it depends on how I go with colour matching. Sometimes vintage colours can be hard to match.

One tea towel has a Christmas theme and I thought it would be fun to make a wall hanging that could come out each year. The other has fantastic colours and owls. Both are a bit kitschy and have bright bold graphics. I can't wait until they arrive so I can have a close look and start shopping for fabrics.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hot and cold quilting

This quilt top was set aside a few months ago. I finally setup the Swiftquilter and am ready to go. The problem is, I really didn't know what to do. I had a few false starts and had to unpick what I started twice.

My problem is that I need to think about the quilting (or at least the area I can work in) when I start designing a quilt. As usual, I want to quilt a motif bigger than my working area. I am sure that if I had a full-size longarm setup, I would still want to do something an inch bigger than I can.

I finally decided to do some ferny feathers within a smaller diamond. Then I started adding a squiggly line border (times three) around it. This is working okay, but I have to wind up/down the quilt because it's still bigger than my working area.

Somehow my heart just isn't in this. I think I have too many other things going on. I know that I will like the finished piece, but maybe I just need to do something else for a few days. Too bad the frame (with extension) is taking up my living room and half the dining room.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Green HST blocks

Pronunciation: /ˈfɒli/
noun (plural follies)
  1. [mass noun] lack of good sense; foolishness: an act of sheer folly
    [count noun] a foolish act, idea, or practice: the follies of youth
  2. a costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, especially a tower or mock-Gothic ruin built in a large garden or park.
  3. (Follies) a theatrical revue with glamorous female performers: [in names]:the Ziegfeld Follies

Origin: Middle English: from Old French folie 'madness', in modern French also 'delight, favourite dwelling' (compare with sense 2), from fol 'fool, foolish'

My definition of folly is on the design wall. A few years ago I had an idea about using some 'bonus' HST squares to make a quilt. I only had a handful of these squares and they were a funny size because they had been trimmed off of something else. Instead of using these as an inspiration, I replicated them.

I should have:
  • Changed the size to something easier and bigger - unfinished size is 2-3/8"
  • Researched 'quick' methods for making lots of HST blocks
  • Calculated that I needed 1,452 of them to make a queen sized quilt
  • Run away

Instead, I moved forward.

These have been languishing at the beach house for at almost 2 years. Every time I go out there I make a few on the weekend. As of last week I had 20 of the component blocks. I decided to bring them back home and make an effort to get more done.

I was sick earlier this week and managed to make 8 more blocks between naps - only 8 more to go. Then I have the 'edge' blocks to finish. These are 2 squares wide and are mostly white with some green to finish off some of the square designs to create a border of sorts (I've made one an put it on the design wall). I'm determined to finish them this weekend. We'll see if I succeed.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Hexa-bee finished quilt

I never did post this finished quilt, so I took the opportunity to take a photos while it was hanging up on the wall at the show. I finished it a couple of months ago but could not find somewhere to hang it, then it was on display, and I was away for a while...

To be honest, this is my favorite quilt that I've made. I love that it's modern but still a bit scrappy. The quilting that I did using the Swiftquilter frame and Juki TL-98 is simple and effective. I am working on my technique, so the quilting is far from perfect, but I always apply the 6-foot (2 metre) rule - stand 6 feet away and see how it looks.

I was afraid of all the green solid fabric that I used, but I'm glad I overcame my fear of solids and negative space because it gives the pieced hexagon blocks some room to breath. I have a lot of green solid equilateral triangles left over from cutting out the big hexagons - there were two between every pair I cut. I'm not sure what to do with them - any suggestions?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

English paper pieced hexagons

I am always a little late with the trends, so after everyone in blogland has done some EPP, I've decided to give it a go. While I was in the US I saw a patterns for 'Hexie Bonbons' in a McCalls Quilting magazine. It required 8 biggish hexagons - about my speed considering my reluctance to do anything by hand.

I started this project because after having the day off yesterday, I could not come up with a project to work on - I think I'm a little burned out after the show. Add to that the house auction that we were going to last night, I was anxious and distracted and could not focus on anything. I decided that a little hand piecing while sitting in the sun was just the thing to calm my nerves.

I confess I like the way the parts come together and the paper pieces make the whole thing satisfyingly crisp. This pattern results in all the hexagons being sewn together to form a little cushion of sorts. Imagine a flat version of a soccer ball (also made up of hexagons). I'm not sure how to work them when I get around the back, but I'm sure there's a way. I just have to remember to pull out the papers before it gets too closed in to reach them.

I'm now envisioning a pig pouf pillow made with 8 huge hexies. I think I'm getting carried away.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced WIP.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Showtime - Auckland Festival of Quilts

Yesterday was the first day of the Auckland Festival of Quilts and our first public outing selling the Juki sewing machines and Swiftquilter frame. I took a few photos while setting up before the crowds came in.

I did add some more quilts opening morning because there was too much grey on the divider walls. Initially, I wanted to limit them to those I made with the Juki machines, but hubby convinced me that any quilt was better than a blank wall. It was a good call because my crumb quilt (washed the night before because the it's on DDs bed and the dog sleeps on it) received a bit of attention and brought a few people in to take a closer look.

We had quite a few people interested in the machines and the frame. My husband commented that every person that he spoke to already had one and were coming in to say hi to the man who originally sold them. We did get some good feedback about improvements or changes and we will take these home for consideration.

I didn't think the show was as crowded as previous years - someone suggested that the holiday on Monday prevented people from taking time off on Friday. Although I did not leave the stand much and hope to get a good look at all the quilts and other vendors on Sunday afternoon (supposedly the 'slow' time).

If you are in Auckland, come and say hi.