Thursday, 28 February 2013

Seam Ripper

And Sew On BOM - February Block - 'Seam Ripper'

I recently purchased a new seam ripper, as I had worn out my previous one. My new seam ripper is red - I'm hoping it will rip out my mistakes faster because it is red! This block is a tribute to my old seam ripper (or 'quick unstitch') which was yellow. It is Kristy's February block of her paper pieced 'And Sew On' Block of the Month. While I'm not particularly happy with the seams joining the handle of the seam ripper, I am happy enough to keep it. Mostly because it was my second attempt at this block!

This is my first attempt:
I set my stitch length to 1 when paper piecing on my machine. The short stitch length makes it much easier to remove the paper upon completion of the block. Unfortunately it also makes it very... annoying to unpick any mistakes. I had to unpick one seam around the top of the seam ripper and resew it. Because of this, some of the paper pieces came away. I held them back into place so that I could continue, but should have used pins, as it ended up like this! I figured it was just easier to start again.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Kristy has planned for March!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Bee Blocks, Eggs and Quilt Backs

The last few weeks have been a little more hectic than usual, mostly because the new school year brings a lot of change. It usually takes my younger children a number of weeks (sometimes a whole term!) to settle in to the routine of a new teacher. Lily is now in year 1 and is a lot more tired at the end of the day than she was in pre primary. I think this has taken her by surprise, though she is managing very well. As a result of children getting back into the routine at school, as well as our routine at home, I have had very little time 'left over' to sit down and enjoy some sewing.

Tonight, however, I treated myself to some time at the machine, cutting mat and ironing board! First up was to finish my block commitments.
This 'Annie's Choice' block is on its way to Ann in Nova Scotia.
Broken Herringbone block in orange.
And in red! Both of these are going to Joshua
I LOVE the look of these Broken Herringbone blocks. The tutorial is great, though I will admit to not being keen to make any more than the two blocks that Joshua requested! I had to concentrate a little too hard for my liking when making these, though the second block was easier once I had done the first. It is the perfect bee block - everyone makes them for you and you end up with a beautiful quilt top!

I finally finished the January block for the Riley Blake Block of the Month. As its now at the end of the month I think I'll leave February and do it at the same time as the March block! I don't really like being behind, but this is probably the best use of my time.
January Riley Blake BOM
I also managed to piece a quilt back for this sweet little lap quilt. I love those mushrooms! I have the same quilt top in blue waiting to be finished. They'll make a lovely pair.

Nearly ready for quilting!
Earlier in February I sent off this 'Let It Snow' block to Diane in the UK. I chose this block as I wanted to make something that was a little bit special. Australian fabric and quilt designer Sarah Fielke designed the block, though I chose to use traditional Christmas colours for Diane.
Sarah's tutorial is great - I really enjoyed trying something new and am pleased with how it turned out.

It has been immensely hot here, with quite a few days of temperatures over 40C (104F). I am so very grateful for the swimming pool and our air conditioning! Unfortunately I think at least one of our poor chickens has been a little sapped of energy during the heat. We discovered a tiny egg trying to hold its own next to the large ones that we collect each day.

The little egg on the right is on a teaspoon while the 'regular' sized egg is sitting on a dessert spoon. Both eggs tasted the same!!

So, if you don't live in Western Australia, what is the weather like where you are?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

What I'm Working On (mostly)

Some years ago I purchased my first jelly rolls from Spotlight. They contained about 20 strips each, so I bought two of them (this is where I also mention that they were reduced several times over). It's a good thing I did, as I haven't seen jelly rolls in Spotlight since! After my purchase the jelly rolls sat in what has now become my 'jelly roll drawer'.

About a year ago I came across the 'jelly roll race quilt tops' phenomenon that swept the world (well, maybe not swept and maybe not the world!). I made a quilt top with my two jelly rolls (which by now were sitting in the drawer with some friends. They are still sitting there!) and then promptly put the quilt top in a drawer!
Basted and partly quilted (of course, the quilting is on the under side!).

In a previous post I blogged about participating in Beth's Drop and Give Me Twenty. This is my current project as a participant of Beth's challenge. I am looking forward to completing it (though the free motion quilting is taking me a while!). Look at that orange lantern fabric - how cute is that?  I am really enjoying the fresh colours of this quilt.

Scrap Bag Challenge

The bag of scraps sent to me by Christine.
Christine at Once Upon A Quilt is hosting a Scrap Bag Challenge. I sent her a 500g self addressed satchel and Christine sent me a bag of her scraps!

Participants make a quilt with the scraps, adding up to one metre of their own fabric. Participants also provide backing, batting and binding (i.e. it must be a finished quilt!). The quilt can be any size between 20" x 30" and 40" square. The way in which it is made (by hand or machine) is entirely up to the participant, as is the design.

Quilts need to be finished by 30th September and posted to Christine. They will then be auctioned on her blog and all monies raised donated to a charity.

Great idea don't you think? I'm already having thoughts as to how I might use this lovely, eclectic bundle of scraps. Of course, I always welcome suggestions! Can you see a bit of a theme in these scraps? Apart from scrappy?

Friday, 8 February 2013

I'm A Guest!

Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts has kindly allowed me to be a guest on her blog! You may remember hearing Alyce's name on some of my previous posts  - Alyce was one of the two hosts of the Sew Seasonal Blog Hop that I participated in. Have a look at the first quilt I made (I'm sure you'll think I'm very brave for showing it to the world - and Alyce even braver for allowing me to premiere it on her blog!!). I'm not sure if I should disclose this or not, but when I was rummaging through my fabric for one of my bee blocks I found some of the fabric that I used in this quilt. I'm not sure if that's good or not!!

Alyce very recently completed a beautiful quilt for her sister and shares the reason why it was such an emotional finish in this post.

While you are visiting Alyce's blog have a look at the Japanese Bundle Club in her etsy shop - they come in fat 1/8's or fat quarters!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Retro Fabric

Retro Sports Print Drill Fabric
When I saw this retro print I knew it would be great sewn into a bag for an older boy. The weight of the fabric is perfect for a bag and it just so happens that I have an older boy! I was excited to make this bag for Jed, as it is always much easier to sew for girls or younger children. Shorts made from cute froggy material or a monkey softie is not wistfully dreamed of by eleven year old boys!
I used a grey furnishing fabric for the body and lining of the bag and the retro print for the flap. I added some initials on the strap (Jed and I have the same initials so they do double duty!) by stamping the letters onto cotton tape. I like it!
Yes - it's a zippered internal pocket!!
The other little 'extra' that I added to Jed's bag (go me!) is an internal pocket. Granted, this isn't a difficult thing to do, but anything that takes a bit of extra time is, well, extra! Measuring the placement, cutting the pocket pieces, sewing the zipper and so on. Now that it is done, I think I'll add one of these to the bags I make from now on! The only other feature I'd like to add (next time!) is a magnetic closure. And then I'll make a hundred of them! Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Jed loves his satchel (because boys don't use 'bags'!!).

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Retro Utensils

I am rather fortunate to have been given another opportunity to test a paper pieced pattern by Kristy at Quiet Play.  Kristy has designed a wonderful series of retro blocks, including this retro stove that will soon appear in her online shop. I tested these fabulous retro utensils!
Retro Utensils
The block is looking a little stiff in the photo as I am yet to remove the backing paper. I think I'll leave it on until I am ready to sew it up as part of a larger project. I'm toying with the idea of either a small quilt or a pot holder. For now, it is in the orphan block box until I am a little more certain of it's future!

Kristy is very good at designing paper pieced blocks. Her patterns are very clear and if there is more than one way to put a block together, Kristy chooses to do it the easiest and most logical way.

I really like retro fabrics and items and was excited to dig around in my scraps to find some that I thought would suit the block. The background is a fabric called 'Flock' that I was fortunate to receive from Quilt Jane. It was a bit of a gamble as to whether or not I had enough, but I took the risk and was able to squeeze out the block with only one section that had to be covered using two smaller pieces of fabric (so one extra seam - see if you can spot it!).

My question for you is this: What do you call this particular utensil in your part of the world?

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Green Surprise

Our green surprise!
Yesterday we picked a big rockmelon from our garden with the intention of eating it. Unfortunately a very ravenous creature got to it first and it was riddled with big holes! The chickens were delighted with their unexpected treat, though we felt a little disappointed. Just as we were about to turn away we spied this big, stripy green zucchini hiding under the enormous leaves! I vaguely remember planting some zucchini (though I can't remember whether it was seedlings or seeds - seeds I think and some out-of-the-ordinary variety), but have been so busy with other things that it has grown unnoticed.

Admittedly I'm a little more excited about our zucchini than the children, but they are still pretty pleased that it came from our garden!

Friday, 1 February 2013

20 minutes in February

I enjoy following Lisa Lisa and the Quilt Jam and when Lisa recently blogged about Beth@Quilting Hottie Haven's 'Drop and Give Me Twenty' for the month of February I knew this was a great opportunity to commit to something that didn't add anything extra, but helped to reduce the number of unfinished projects I seem to have so easily accumulated (Zoe rolled her eyes when she heard this!). Because the more you finish, the more you can start!!

And so I pledge:

"I, Jeneta, am joining Quilting Hottie Haven's second annual DaGMT event, and pledge to quilt for 20 minutes every day of the month of February, 2013 (unless our family is hit with gastro - touch wood - in which case the 20 mins will accumulate!). In doing so I hope to quilt and bind some of the quilt tops that have been sitting around for...a while (and I think Beth Helfter is brilliant for coming up with this concept and inspiring me to join)."

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