This week I have been doing something that I have been meaning to do since I got my long arm machine back in November! I have been playing with it! I got out some plain fabric and set it up on the machine just to practice some free motion quilting and to have some fun scribbling on a blank canvas. In the meantime, my Oakshott cottons arrived in the mail, which I was inspired to purchase from this post here by Lynne. I have always had a love for shot cottons, but in past I have used ones by Kaffe Fassett which another blogger once described in agreeing with me that they are, "flimsy at best". Well, I wasn't disappointed with the Oakshott at all. They have been woven with care and sew very nicely. The only complaint I might have is that they smell a little bit strange (I don't prewash my fabrics anymore). I loved working with them and enjoyed making up the "kit". My husband loves trees--he has planted thousands in his lifetime and I thought it would make a nice wall hanging for our living room. So, armed with new free motion skills from playing and a new pieced quilt top, I had my first stab at free motion quilting on the long arm. It was, I have to admit, too much fun. I do not intend to use my machine for doing custom quilting for customers, but for myself I definitely plan to do more!!!
I am also glad that I did not read the follow-up post that was written about suggesting how Lily should plan to quilt her top (here) until after I did the quilting as I am sure it would have influenced me. I chose to use variegated thread by King Tut, which I really like but was advised against in the post. I like how the variegated changes the look of each block as it changes with each different color. Also, I probably would have tried to do something like the leaf pattern suggested and I am sure I would have failed miserably at it. My original vision was that the trees should have the wind blowing in the background to add to an autumn feel and I am glad that I stuck with it.
I wanted to finish this quilt in order to enter it in the local show in which entries are due this week. Just in time! I am going to enter a few other quilts too, this will be my first time entering in a show, but I'm doing it just for fun and to bulk up the quilting section in the show:) Our shows are small around here.
Oh, so I have been so in a slump with the whole paper piecing thing lately. I've been late this last month getting my block for my Piece Bee With You bee. I just have not been able to draft a block for the life of me. I decided yesterday that the best way to attack this is to do some paper piecing following a pattern. So I decided I would have a stab at the Sew Aloud Quilt Along that is happening right now! I was very very impressed with the design of this first block and am looking forward to more to follow--especially if they are as good as this one! Have a look at the group and check out all the blocks that have been made so far. I don't think I will be drafting any blocks for the contest (even if it is going to be judged by Suzuko Koseki). I don't think I have the head space for it--at least not right now.
In making this block, I kept seeing about a million things I could change or make better if I just went slower and fixed each and every bit. I did slow down a lot (for me) as it was to try and get it together as best I could. I need to learn more patience, persistence and determination...
So, at the moment there is a lot going on around here, but today I thought I would pop this quilt of my own that I finished over the weekend onto the machine. The idea being that this would be a little Valentine's present to myself. I will get back to working on customer quilts tomorrow and hopefully get caught up again by the week's end I am really loving the simple honey comb quilting design on this quilt. The only issue I have with it is that it has been a pain to get it lined up after each advancement of the quilt (every two rows). Since it is a quilt for myself, I'm not as concerned and it is good practice for working on lining up the registration marks precisely. Gosh, can I just say how fun it was to make the dresden plates? It was a quick and easy quilt to make, which surprised me. I did chain piece all blocks--there are only four different blocks (16 in total). I also machine appliqued everything (no hand stitching) with a 2 by 2 length/width zigzag. The entire quilt measures 98" x 98" and is used from my stash of the "old" mono pez. I am debating on what binding I will add. I might do a color binding or perhaps a darker black...
Oh, I have managed to do a lot of sewing this weekend so far! Shows how much I can get done if I get an hour or two to myself!!! My husband (dear dear man) took the boys yesterday and today for a couple of hours to work with him and I made a mad dash to the sewing room. Unfortunately, I'm not working on customer quilts this weekend, bee blocks or other things that I probably ought to be doing instead. Instead, I have managed to do some cleaning, cooking, laundry and sewing up a storm ! Gosh, I swear, I wonder how much I could get done if I had zero distractions and why didn't I get more done before I had kids?
Anyway, these are my latest blocks. I just couldn't bear doing yet another quilt with mainly a white background and now that the new mono pezzy print is available in yardage again, I feel free in using up my old pez for this quilt. Zing zing zing Pop pop pop! Loving all the color...
Ok, I just got extremely distracted with all the piles of Japanese fabric that I have been getting my hands onto lately. I just Had to do some cutting--especially with my new Dresden Plate template arriving in my mailbox this week. I've always wanted to make a Dresden Plate quilt, but I thought it was more involved or difficult than it really is. Ok, well, I have put the center in or put it onto a background yet--I'm debating what I want to use... I've got a couple of ideas and am trying to steer away from the obvious white choice. Really, I think in a couple of years people will be saying, "What were we THINKING using so much white on our quilts??" It does look nice and fresh when it's new though:)
Hmmm... Today is Friday (no Saturday deliveries here) and the last fabric that I am waiting on to finish this quilt up has not arrived. Isn't that always the way? When you are really looking and checking, it never arrives. Oh well, I'm not even sure it is the right fabric to use, but I would like to see it and finish up these last two blocks so that I can get it quilted up soon! I've decided to make this one to hang out on our bed for a while and will make some pillow cases to go with them as well. The fabric is so smooth and luxurious that a pillowcase would be perfect!! In the meantime, I am getting a bit distracted with all this gorgeous Japanese fabric sitting out!!
I'm still waiting on one more fabric to arrive to finish this quilt although I'm very hesitant whether or not it will be the right fabric to use or not. I am hoping all the daisies will look good together, but I must admit I am having my doubts at this point. Each block looks nice individually, but together... Hmmm... It's not over until it's done though and it's all about the journey, right?
I have to tell you about how uneventful our Friday night was last night. We live in such a rural area and at the same time live close enough to a road connecting two local towns that we notice nearly every car or vehicle that passes by. Last night as my husband was coming home we saw a unmarked police car flying past our place with it's sirens blaring. Over the next hour and a half we watched as one police car after another (11 total plus a paddy wagon) went roaring down the road. Now what you need to understand is that the direction they were heading is basically a dead end--one tiny township and then mostly bushland beyond it. We couldn't figure out what would cause that many police cars to drive past and since my internet had dropped out last night, I couldn't even google it. This morning I still hadn't figured it out until on a whim I looked up what had happened to the escaped convict from Goulburn. Sure enough! That was it! Plus, the news article had read that he had reached the township (15k from us) and had escaped into the bush and was still at large. Well, they caught him this afternoon. Apparently he backtracked and headed back towards civilization (my general direction) but was caught in some old shearers huts that are part of a historic display in the township. You see, there are advantages of living in a rural area--everyone knows everyone so the criminals do stand out! Note to escaped convicts--head to the city where you have a chance to blend in!
I did some more swooning this afternoon. I still do not have the fabric for block 4 and part of block 5 so I will skip to block 6 tonight and hope the fabric I am waiting for arrives on Monday. I am keen to see how this quilt turns out!
So, last night I tried making this block after a long afternoon with Alexander being sick. It's been a rough week with fires, one of our dogs getting hit by a truck, my husband away at a ram sale and now finally the late shearing of the lambs today and tomorrow. Thankfully, my MIL showed up unexpectedly today and is such a big help taking Alexander in the morning. It settles our day as Oliver can have a decent nap without getting woken up, Alexander is treated like a king at grandma's place and I can get a little work done (catching up) around the house plus do some meal planning. I did sneak downstairs to fix this block after I realized I had put the block together wrong last night! I think I shouldn't have a drink and then decide to sew next time. Haha--thank you to a Flickr friend for pointing it out:) Too funny! I need to catch up on some Bees now and then plan to continue swooning...
I have been obsessed with text fabrics over the last year or so, mainly due to the amazing photography and blogging by Amy, who will be one of the hosts for the new quilt along Sew Out Loud. I haven't been much of a quilt along person, but suddenly I've been taken in by it all. I'm swooning away and will definitely be Sewing Out Loud. Text fabrics have been growing in popularity over the last year or so, especially with the fabulous Japanese designers like Suzuko Koseki and Kumiko Fujita using and designing them in unique ways. The above fabrics are from Lecien called "Retro Pop" that I purchased with the help of Ayumi from her Etsy shop. My prediction is that this will be a very popular quilt along!!! I can't wait to get started!