Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Done that, no need to do it again

Quilt camp was interesting - the good things were very fun, and the other things were as expected. Sitting and sewing with forty women in a room is very enjoyable. Everyone was as busy or as contemplative as they wanted to be; and they were all very nice and welcoming and good fun to talk to about all sorts of things! Some very beautiful quilts were being made too, although as usual I didn't quite find anyone who made them in the same way as me ... everyone else seems to be more ordered and planned and precise about every aspect of the design and construction. Mmmm.

The weather was appalling - rainy and freezing. The camp was beautifully set in bushland with lots of trees, which would be wonderful in summer but was very damp and gloomy last weekend. I went for a walk down the beach on Saturday afternoon during a brief dry spell - but look at that storm coming in from the sea! It hit with a vengeance at about dinner time.
This is the view from the dining hall, with lorikeets that would eat pieces of apple out of your hand. It was wonderful getting three hot meals a day (plus morning and afternoon tea and supper) cooked and served to you. We quickly learned to stick to our allotted meal time and avoid the 200 primary school students who were there on music camp! They were exceptionally well behaved but you can't have that many kids eating meals together without a phenomenal amount of noise.

So I don't know if I'll go on another one. I don't enjoy sharing a room, even though my roomy is a good friend and very easy to be around. And I got that slightly depressing feeling I get after just about every quilt show, that everyone is using the same words as me, but still speaking a different language.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Off to a quilting retreat

This weekend I'm going to do something I've never done before and go away for the weekend with a quilting retreat! It's being organised by the mother-in-law of a friend of mine, so I'm going with my friend, largely for moral support I think. I won't know anyone else there, and I have no idea what it's going to be like. I am generally more of a luxury traveller, and it's at a camp-type thing, so I'm a bit nervous, but it's only for a weekend.... and I won't have the kids! So it has to be, at least, more peaceful than home. And I suspect I've packed enough projects to last me two months, not two days - is that normal?
My husband is being very good about looking after the boys all weekend on his own - they've planned a pizza evening on Saturday with some other blokes big and small. And of course it is the ACT Scale Modellers annual exhibition and competition - my husband also has a tragic hobby, just like me. Not sure what he's entering this year, but it can't beat his millenium falcon!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Just in case I didn't have enough UFOs

Despite the pile of other things I ought to be doing, I thought I'd start a new project after sitting quietly in the sewing room for fifteen minutes, completely uninspired by anything around me. I could have forced myself to do something that needed doing .... or I could have started something else completely unnecessary, so I did.

After a quick flick through the quilt books it's more Gwen Marston - liberated baskets this time. I have some lovely prints that I tend to look at rather than use, so I started with one of them; this Kaffe Fassett.

The blocks will be mostly orange prints on blue hand-dyed backgrounds, with varying colours of handles. There'll be some blue prints on orange hand-dyed backgrounds too, just to mix it up a bit. The baskets are much much fun to make. I'm using Gwen's method from Liberated Quiltmaking II - if I do any more after this quilt I'd do it a bit differently and cut all the baskets with their backgrounds at the same time from a strip; rather than basket by basket as I'm currently doing.

The book says that all the life is in the handles and it is completely true - the minute I consciously tried to make this asymmetrical and different handles the blocks got much more interesting! Good fun, although pressing the bias strips has meant iron burns on every finger so far. I can't seem to get that left hand / right hand thing sorted; never mind, I've only done fifteen of the fifty or so I need, so by the time I get to the end I should have it under control...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Calendar quilt finished

I handed in my miniature quilt for the calendar competition on Thursday - the theme was cutting corners and I called mine "Cutting corners in a polka dot car". Nothing if not descriptive! Here it is with the quilting done. As with much of my stuff, the execution is a little bit basic ... but it looks happy.

I made another blanket of love too - pink this time.

y mission this weekend is to wash the masses of stuff I bought in American Samoa and see what it turns out like! The purple t-shirt lost so much colour I'm a bit concerned about the fabric, but I'm going to give it a go. If all else fails I see placements! tablecloths! the back of the cupboard!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Medallion quilt

Here's a quilt I finished last year and it's one of my favourites ... do I say that about all of them? Probably. It's a random medallion - I made the middle with raw-edge applique (machine stitched down) then thought about the borders and added them as I went.

Unfortunately I had a problem with the nine-patches on point and had to cut them off halfway round the border one one side. And I measured and everything!!! Sounds like the same problem I had with the black and white one, either my adding or my sewing is seriously off. Although I think the most recent one was much better, so perhaps I'm improving.

Anyway the problem with the border meant this can't really be an exhibition quilt, which is a shame because I love the colours and the warmth of it. It's hand quilted with echo quilting around the applique and just in straight lines over the borders. This quilt is an example of using the ugliest fabric - the background colour for the central applique is an ugly purply-pink that just does not go with anything normally, but just seems to fit happily here. I'm re-visiting this idea (applique medallion with borders) for my show quilt this year, and paying more attention to the fit. Seriously!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Remember the scraps?

This is what I decided to do with my brainless solid scrap sewing ... I went all Freddy Moran and combined it with black and white! This is not something I would ever have considered doing if I hadn't seen her quilts. I tend to think that soft solids need a soft setting, and would steer away from something so emphatic as black and white prints. BUT I did it, and I think it looks quite cool!

I made some kind of error in the border with the on-point squares. Either my maths or my sewing (or quite possibly both) was out of whack and it is a long way from square, with some alarming bubbles. Given that, I'm finishing it here and not adding on another couple of borders to make it into a double or queen size quilt.

I don't quite love it enough to unpick (I don't think I've ever loved anything enough to unpick). So I've sandwiched it up and will machine quilt it bubbles and all - I think it's about fifty inches square so a good size for a snuggle blanket. Is there a bad size for a snuggle blanket?