Sunday, September 28, 2008

Away for awhile.....

School holidays here so we are going to Rotto for a week. This is what I'm leaving on my cutting mat, taking no sewing, I need to get a hand sewing long term project going, I'm going to feel lost. I'm going to take a little book and my colour pencils and do some designing. See you soon!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

WIP Wednesday - Week 35 - Spiral Doll Quilts Progress

Despite having a sick household over the weekend, Daz has got a man-cold, insert rolling the eyes at the man on his "death bed" over a little head cold, you know what its like! Milly had a horrid 4 day long stomach virus, 2 days of vomiting and then 2 days of lying on the couch sleeping and watching DVD's, poor poppet. But the plus side was that I managed to get quite a bit of sewing done as my machine is on table which butts up to the couch Milly was on, so I could supervise her and sew! Perfect! So I finished this dolls quilt, the pink and purple one. Well I finished the top and the quilting, its ready to bind. It is wonky in the top left corner cause I took this photo of it while it was hanging on the felt wall. Pondering over binding colour, maybe a orange to bring out the flower in the centre square?

And I finished this one too. I only put a sneek peak shot up last week as I thought it was going to be for the EB Quilters Doll Swap, but now I have it finished I am thinking, nope I'll do something else. I mean I really like this, love the colours and the movement but am thinking is it enough for the swap? Its a simple design and it didn't take that long to sew, will my swap partner be happy with that? Then I got to fiddling around with the image in Photoshop.... cut off two of the triangle borders and rotated the squares to come up with the below pattern.

So I am now going to whip up this one and see which one looks better for the swap. One for my swapee's wall, one for mine. :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

FMQ tips and tricks.

I thought I'd do a post on FMQ (free motion quilting) to all the non quilters out there in blog land that are scratching your heads going FMQ? Huh? I get a lot of comments when I post a photo of something that has been FMQ'ed and thought I'd share some tips and tricks as its not as hard as it looks! I'm no expert at all and below is stuff you most likely already know, its just personal observations that I think have made my quilting better. And its true what they say, practise, practise, practise!

Preparation for FMQ!
Biggest tip would be, new quilt = new needle for your machine! It makes a world of difference, and preferably a needle for quilting, rather than universal sewing.

Cotton thread! I have used polyester in the past and also a cotton/polyester blend, breaking the rules of "proper" quilting I suppose but I can't resist cheap colourful reels of thread! Cotton is smoother, you don't get that build up of lint on the needle and it doesn't break as easily as polyester. When starting to quilt, I always load a fresh bobbin. I have in the past used a bobbin of exactly the same thread that has been wound a few days/weeks earlier and it just causes grief. So new quilt = new fresh bobbin.

Now, the grey gloves. Have I just come in from gardening? Hmmmm, anyone that has seen my garden would laugh at that! Neglected jungle of weeds..... but these are gardening gloves from my local hardware shop for $5.00. You can buy "proper" quilting gloves but these work just as well, they grip the fabric as you are moving it around, make it so much easier. And they are cheaper leaving you more money to buy that 100% cotton thread!

You'll need a darning foot and the feed dogs down and now you are ready to actually start FMQ.

Now I started quilting AJ's RR top this afternoon which inspired this post really. It arrived at my house a few weeks ago and my immediate thought was WOW! It is stunning, absolutely stunning! I thought what can I add to this? Its already complete! I read in her notes that she was hoping to make it a wall hanging, its the perfect size for that already. So........ I thought, knowing that AJ was so many WIP on the go, how about I sandwich, quilt and bind it? She gave me the thumbs up, so thats my bit of her Round Robin. I treated myself to these new cottons above.

Actual FMQ.
Okay, let the fun start! I always like to practise on a test bit of material first, to get the tension right. Today I had the machine set to 7, I have had it to 9 in the past for FMQ, 4 is the setting for normal sewing on my machine. Guess it depends on the thread and how the machine is feeling for the day.

I used to match my bobbin colour to the backing and have the thread match the quilt top, but now I have the same colour backing and top regardless. This way you don't have any of the bobbin colour appearing in the thread on top, its just a smooth line of colour. Unless of course you want to have that little dot of colour appear in the thread as extra interest? It sometimes works.

Think of the needle as a pen, you are drawing on your material. This is where the gloves come in handy to glide the material around. For me going zoom fast causes my machine to loose stitching, going slow produces jagged curves rather than smooth ones that going at a medium speed does. My machine has a speed control slide button which is in the middle so I cant put my foot down and take off.

Starting and stopping, try to do this in a place where it isn't so noticeable. Like in the corner of a square or triangle or between two colours. A lot of quilters like to hold the bottom thread as they start but must admit I haven't mastered the art of holding onto bottom thread and taking off! So I just leave a 20cm length and hope for the best.

I think that is about it. New needle and new bobbin are the most important ones I think. Its all in the preparation and of course practise, practise, practise! It only gets better with each quilt. :)

I'd love to hear if you have any tips or tricks to share.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

WIP Wednesday - Week 34 - EB Quilters Dolls Quilt progress

WIP Wednesday, my favourite day of the week! My house is totally silent today, Daz has gone back to work, Milly at FDC and Grace at school, so the house is all mine! Promised myself some blogging time and a coffee and then I'll hit the machine. A dear and sage old friend told me yesterday that I should embrace these Wednesdays as my own as they won't be around much longer as the year ends and gets busier!

So I have two projects on the go today. Above is a sneek peak of my EB Quilters Dolls Quilt Swap. Just a sneeky angle shot. No one else has posted sneek peak shots yet and being a small group of quilters for this swap, it may become more apparant who my swapee is..... I'm really happy with how this has turned out. And will admit once I had the pattern traced onto my paper and all the fabric cut and ready to go, it only took a night of sewing to finish it.

I loved the pattern so much the next day I selected more fabric, in a pink and purple colourway and decided to make another. So maybe the rainbow one woun't be my Dolls Quilt after all? Maybe I'll send the pink and purple one? Or maybe I'll get inspired again and select another colourway? Oh the possiblitlies!

Here's were I am up to now. I realized earlier in the week when I was looking back at my old blog post about last years dolls quilt swap, the fabric I am using for the centre square, Corrie actually enclosed that in her package as an extra goodie. How's that for tying together the two swaps without realizing it? :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Baby Bumble Bee.

Lily, an online quilting buddy had a beautiful baby boy a few weeks ago and although I made a few blocks for the group quilt that Emma whipped up for her, I wanted to make a little something as well for her to hang in his room. So I finished this little bumble bee hanger. Its from that UFO applique wall hanging I found back in June that I had totally forgotten about. Its too horrible to complete by itself but cut up, its looking good. It is the same hanger I got the house block from, its great cutting it up and giving it a new life. The bee is hand blanket stitched, back in the days when I had time to hand blanket stitch! And then machine quilted, a perfect size to practise some crazy swirls and stippling.

Friday, September 12, 2008

EB Dolls Quilt Swap.... the beginning.

I have started my dolls quilt for the second EB Quilters Dolls Quilt Swap. I've come up with the idea of a swirly spiral rainbow, two sections going from yellow, orange, red and the other two from green, blue, purple with a little 1/4th inch of white sashing inbetween. Can you picture it? It's in my head, I'm just eager to go so I haven't got my coloured pencils out and coloured in a design. It's there, it will work. It's foundation peiced again, I just love the sharp points of accuracy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WIP Wednesday - Week 33 - Emma's RR finished! Yahh!

I finished this little baby last night! Yahhhhh! Here is a sneek peek as I can't show the whole thing! It looks much, much, much better than the first attempt. I feel better about it. I didn't realize when I signed up just how challenging a Round Robin would be, sewing to other people's colours and preferences. Emma, I hope you like my effort, the points are all sharp and punchy, I think you will. :) I did each block foundation peiced and was pleasantly suprised that it lined up exactly when I sewed them on!

AJ, its on its way to your house...... again! And back to the Squid Eye Quilt I go, which hasn't been touched since WIP Week 29!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

June Mini Quilt Swap Recieved!

I recieved some unexpected mail yesterday. This sweet little mini quilt from the amazing Susan. It is so tiny and cute, 6 x 7 inches. It was for the June round of the 6 - 12 inch mini quilt swap that I signed up for. June? Huh, but it's September? My swapee never sent the mini she made me, well I don't think she even made one, her replies were always focused on hoping to get in her sewing room later in the week. Okay.............. I don't understand why someone would sign up for a swap if they can't commit to it. If some thing comes up and you can't do the swap, at least return what you recieved. Part of me is a bit cross that the sweet little house now belongs to someone who didn't go through with their end of the swap. And then part of me just shrugs it off as swap experience, I've done a few swaps now and this is the first that was been a dud experience.

But Susan is a legend and whipped up this little beauty as a replacement which was very sweet of her. Thank you Susan, you are one hot swap mama!

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Spooky Dress!

Here is Grace's latest dress, it's not really spooky, but it is black, so she thinks it is spooky. On the weekend she went to a fellow class mates 6th birthday party and it was a spooky party. The invite had glow in the dark ghost stickers all over it, and apparantly there was a witch there and a lucky slime dip and a spider cake. Cool theme for a kids party, Grace came home with a tattoo on her cheek, see below post's photo and some hair sprayed a nice shade of green.

Anyway back to the dress.... When we got the invite, Grace said "I want to wear black". I suddenly turned into my own mother and said "You are NOT wearing black to a party young lady!" How many times did I hear that as a teenager? But then a few days later at Spotlight I spotted this material and thought it had enough black on it to keep Grace happy and enough splashes of colour in the ladybirds and white dots to keep me happy. And the best bit, it had already had the shirring done! So all I had to do was sew it up, hem the bottom and add some straps, which is pretty much exactly what I did. With a few interuptions I think it took maybe an hour and a half. I thought is was great that the shirring was already done. I have done it before, but I am so time poor at the moment, it was worth the $18 a metre it cost.

Milly captured the above moment celebrating the success of the spooky dress!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Happy Fathers Day Daz!

We had a lovely day. The girls bounced in this morning with pressies for him. Grace had made him a mug at school and a "Best Dad Award" laminated certificate, complete with texta drawing of him mowing the lawn! Of course a pack of jocks, what Aussie Fathers Day is complete without socks or jocks? A book about a lion cub who wants to be Just Like My Dad, I always like to get him a book for Fathers Day for him to read to the girls. And the present he liked the most, the DVD of the Flight of The Conchords, a silly, silly, silly show about 2 New Zealand dudes in a band trying to make it inNew York. Silly stuff but Daz laughs himself off the couch, maybe reliving his own band days?

Happy Fathers Day Daz! You rock! You are the best dad to our beautiful girls and they love you so much. I am sorry I am such a grump half the time and just want to sew, but I do love you and appreciate all you do for our family. xx

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

WIP Wednesday - Week 32 - No sewing, off to Rotto!

Absolutely no sewing going on in this house at the moment. Daz is on holidays before starting a new job on the 15th, so we decided to go to Rottnest for a few days break, as you do! So all photos for WIP Wednesday are non sewing related! And they are mainly of Grace, as she obviously didn't go to school while we were away, so she wanted a photo journal of her stay so she could take it back for show and tell!

So, here we have Grace on the beach getting ready to build a sandcastle.

And Grace eating a merainge from the Bakery and then getting excitied as the peacock had his feathers up!

And then going fishing with her Dad with the hope that she would catch 11 fish! Final tally was zilch, just a lot of seaweed although we did see a huge sting ray swimming under the jetty, that was cool.

And the girls feeding Queenie the quokka. This quokka lives just outside the IL's gate, you aren't supposed to feed them..... but they love these geranium leaves.

Hopefully will get some sewing in soon.....