sometimes small things make me happy

It has been a couple of weeks of a little progress on many things.

First, there was a very important finish:
Mug rug
This went to a beloved person’s birthday, and the mail service even got it there in time! It has standard batting in it, not insul-brite, but it will serve happily as a mug rug to insulate any cup of tea.
Mug rug and glass teapot

The second, is a new start. The wattle is beginning to come out, peeking in corners where it is warm and sunny:
So. Much. Yellow.
and so, in a little bit of holiday-time, I started cutting for a spring quilt. This one is just for us.
Fabric Stack
It made its way into being a large pile of 6.5″ squares, from my handy template, a standard 6.5″ square ruler. I think it will be an offset set of nested diamonds from HSTs in these colours and the white (which is more a Kona Snow), and will finish up to queen-bed size. The largest quilt I will ever have tried! But both of us are very happy with the design, so it is worth doing the extra work, I think.

And I have started making a laptop/messenger bag from the Ink and Spindle fabric. The fabric is all cut; just waiting on the fusible support-interfacing and thin foam to arrive (Lincroft was no help in the matter, so yay for small quilt shops with good webservice).

Other works in progress:
winter solstice – started quilting leaves, but they take ages without being able to free-motion (my machine it does not cooperate with FMQ). Something to take time over and not rush.


{wip} wednesday: many works

This week has seen the happy finish of Turquoise delights, which I wrote about earlier this week:
turquoise delights: orbits quilting

the quilting is to make it a happy two-sided quilt if need be.
turquoise delights: orbits quilting on the back

It is large enough that it can snuggle on a couch, but it will spend time as a baby quilt, so will probably see the floor quite often. Off it has gone in the post to its new home far over the sea in Boston.
turquoise delights snuggles on the sofa

There has also been the Stash Bee block for July, a Stained block to be in bright colours:
Stash Bee July

and a little bit of stashing. Some lovely Ink and Spindle linen for a laptop/messenger bag I want to start soon:
Soon to be a bag

and an Auntie Cookie print for the flap of the bag:
white and gold, wood and possum

The rest of this week has been basting the winter sunrise quilt. Trying closer basting, pins all <3" separation, to see if I can avoid wrinkling in the finished quilt. Now all done and ready for quilting with some lovely variegated King Tut in the next few days. Once I decide on how to quilt it!
solstice sunrise gets its basting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

turquoise delights has made it!

There have been many bits of slow progress in the last few weeks. For lo: a finish! I give to you: Turquoise delights.

Originally inspired by duzza bear’s version (below) of a Film in the Fridge quilt, I used the dimensions here: a number of 3.5″ square and 7.5″ x 3.5″ pieces, sashed with 1.5″ strips.
Rectangle cubed quilt

And so I began on Turquoise delights.
She started small and blocklike, inhabiting a corner of the carpet:
First, start with a few squares and rectangles...

then became sashed, little by little:
...sneakily, they grow

The idea for quilting turned out to be straightforward once the backing presented itself (yes this is going to a very small person):
I added the dolphins on the side mostly as their background colours were similar enough. Piece of string and water-soluble pen to get the lines for the quilting.
ETA: How to get the quilting effect:
1. Cut string long enough to go across all of quilt (roughly).
2. Tie string around pen securely-enough.
3. Hold string in centre of where the circles will be centred from. If the arcs are going to get larger than your armspan (nearly did for me on this size quilt!), tie string to a basting pin or similar. Don’t tie too permanently as it’s going to be adjusted a lot.
4. Gently get string taut at radius of desired circle. Draw arc on quilt, keeping pen vertical. If your pen doesn’t stay vertical, the line won’t stay consistent. Doesn’t have to be super-precise, but care helps.
5. Lengthen string – draw another arc. And another, and another…
6. Quilt along lines.
7. Voila! Orbit quilting.

A pile of binding followed:

And some embroidery for the recipient:
(I didn’t have quite the right needle for that diameter of embroidery floss, so I am glad she has a short name…)

Machine binding for a change (and durability), and all done. This photo after washing and resulting crinklification.
turquoise delights: orbits quilting

Off it will go to its new home this week!

frost creeps into every cranny

I am very happy to say that Stargazing is a finalist in the Quilts section of the Summer Sewing Contest! All the finalists are on display at Ellison Lane Quilts; you can vote there for your favourite in each of the four categories. I’m amazed to see little Stargazing among all those pretty works of art.

Stargazing now lives in its island home on the other side of the Tasman, where its new keeper has reported that she is very happy with its colours.
back and front of Stargazer
And now to a finish-photo…

The top to winter sunrise is all sewn together. So many points to meet up…most of them are precise 😉
Pieced winter sunrise

Now to decide how to quilt it!

I have also it seems been keeping winter in my thoughts in fabric acquisitions.
lovely acquisitions

nom nom nom delightful Echo, Half Moon Modern, Modernology, and Dear Stella. They weren’t selected to go all together, but now that I see them…some solids and that might be quite pretty. Kinda coordinates with the button, hey?

Another distinctly less wintery quilt top is also done, but needs one more strip of edging. It will appear later in the week.

light to a sunrise {wip}

The pieces of winter dawn are now all cut, assembled and in an order I am happy with. It did take a while with layouts that had to evolve:
Too scattered Closer to working
Prism layout

(it is at this point that I gave up doing it on the floor and sacrificed a bit of batting to a temporary design wall).

and a diversion into Organising the Stash. Nice to get it all out of shoeboxes and little cardboard boxes into a place where I can see it more often. Takes half the unit; the rest is paperback books.

The Joy of Stash

But I wrangled winter sunrise into a manageable harmony eventually, and started sewing it together. Six rows pieced so far; five more to go. Bit worried about putting row to row, as making the points line up looks like it will be fiddly.

On the upside, my bee block for Stash Bee required points not to line up at all.
Stash Bee May

Onwards to June!

work in progress: winter sunrise

I’ve squared all the blocks for the turquoise-delights quilt. They’re ready to be sashed and sewn together. Hopefully some time this week.

Last Monday, I pulled fabrics in a colour combination that has been begging to go together:
Fabrics for a winter sunrise

And inspired by the patchwork prism QAL, I made an equilateral triangle template that would take a 5″ charm square and got started. The further I go the less I am sure it will come out looking like a patchwork prism. Winter dawn, winter sunrise. I shall see where the fabric takes me. I am thinking a reverse applique silhouetted tree in dark brown/greys will cut nicely through the careful piecing. Less sure if this will come out lap-quilt-sized or end up a table-runner (which I had thought would be the next project). But it has great approval from the Design Assistant, who is very glad it will be staying to live with us.
Piecing a prism of a winter sunrise

Last Thursday was the first meeting of a tentatively-forming Canberra Modern Quilters group, organised by Jenny Bowker “under the wing” of Canberra Quilters. I was excited to see how it would go; plenty of attendees, though I think most were from Canberra Quilters already. A fun show-and-tell, and some good conversation afterwards; I’ll go again. The next meeting is in a month, so I should have at least one finish by then.

flying geese all follow the kite

This month has got off to a good start. I got my potholders for the Bee a {modern} swapper April swap out the door on time, despite getting a little ambitious in the designs.

We were to make two potholders, and my partner liked blue. I can manage blue. I could probably do  three king-size quilts only and entirely in blue. So the first one, a small version of the Cracker Scraps block, was straightforward enough:

The quilting, through two layers of Insulbrite, produced a reassuringly thick layer of thermal protection, but it did slide out of true a teensy bit despite dense pin-basting. Sigh. I shall get better at quilting Insulbrite.

I decided to be a little more experimental for the second, but with precision. Dan over at Piece and Press made a beautiful curved rainbow flying geese arch as part of the Travelling Quilts bee:
Wandering Geese
and when I saw it, I thought immediately of how much it looked like the tail of a kite. Thanks to his kindness in making the pattern available, I printed a few at a small size and started merrily piecing:
sneak peak, o partner

then added a kite to go with it. Took a little bit of fiddling to get it at the right angle to continue the curve; I might try it larger in proportion to the tail-geese next time. The fabric is Kathy Davis Journeys, Dragonfly Dance:

and free-motioned the quilting. A bit larger than the other, but can double as a pot stand?

I’m quite tempted to see how this would look with a longer tail at a larger scale. Perhaps 1.2 m long or so, and a multi-piece quadrant kite about 25 cm long.

The potholders have nice multicoloured backings to suit their purpose. The number of fabrics produced by indigenous Australian designers is increasing quite fast.
Back of Ba{m}s swap potholders
And now they have headed off over the ocean to their new home. All good kites should fly free eventually.

Kite and cracker scraps

Stargazing: a finished sky

From its humble many-pieced beginnings all over my table in February: 

Stargazing has now grown into a fully-fledged quilt.
back and front of Stargazer
With a so-happy binding:
Stripy binding

and little hand-detailing:
perle cotton is wonderful
It rather likes the thought of keeping a lap warm, after having had its crinklification wash:
snuggly Stargazer
but it’s still all about the contrast.
back of Stargazer
Quite happy to hang out against a wall:
Finished Stargazer
The yellow back still lets the light shine through. Shine on, little Sun-lit stars.
glowing Stargazer

I discussed the fabrics here.

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Name Game swap

So one finished project that I haven’t shown here are the Name Game swap quilts. It was entirely Secret Squirrel the whole time. And now it may be revealed.
It started with a request for pinwheels, green, purple and dragonflies. I had never made pinwheels before… Fortunately, a perfect-palette charm pack had just arrived on my doorstep. Little did I know when I began that the recipient was also an aficionado of Kate Spain!
Swap choices
And lo, the mystery swap partner was happy. So pinwheels began to go together:
come to me, little pinwheels

and blanket stitch was learnt to hold down the applique of a name (yes the letters are very skinny):
Blanket stitch

and binding carefully attached, with hanging corners of more Good Fortune:

And amazingly, a whole mini quilt finished in time to head off to the US, where it has found a home with Angie, who to my delight was pleased with the finished article.
Finished name mini

The pinwheels are Bella Snow, Kate Spain Good Fortune, Pure Elements purple and teal, and Outfoxed purple jewels. The narrow frame around the central panel of near-white linen are Kona ice frappe and glacier, with tangerine for the name, a fussy-cut Good Fortune dragonfly appliqued, and the binding is Moda marble in purple.

And for my Name Game swap quilt, Jessica of Scrappy n Happy put together this rather perfect delight of my favourite colours:
Name Game quilt: in its home!
seen in its home among my scarves (it blended too perfectly to move it to the white wall just yet). Jessica also made a lovely card and a wrist strap, and popped in some little red binding clips. Super thoughtful.

(Stargazing is also finished! and ready for its reveal. Photos were taken this weekend, and it is now off to its new home).

The delights of Stargazing

I gave my machine a fair bit of TLC: cleaning, oiling, a new needle, and it is much happier. So Stargazing is now quilted!
once quiltedThere is one gap left in the negative space in the centre, as I decide what to do for the quilting there. I think as it is 12″ across, it will need quilting: or can I get away without it?

All the littlest stars are hand quilted, with a lovely hand-dyed perle cotton I had that matches perfectly to the overall palette of the stars:
perle cotton, my friend

sunset and perle cotton

and the back shows off the contrasting thread (which is stitch-in-the-ditch around the larger stars):

back of Stargazer

I think that’s about the correct level of wrinkly I could expect.

Sewed the binding on this weekend. Now to hand stitch it all down…

Lily's Quilts

And in honour of Fresh Sewing Day, a little mosaic from March. Slow but steady, this month…

1. Blanket stitch, 2. Finished name mini, 3. …sneakily, they grow, 4. once quilted, 5. sunset and perle cotton, 6. Back