Thursday, 28 June 2007

I did it! Its Finished!

Such a race but its done and I even have time to blog it and get changed before we go out this afternoon. We are having a farewell dinner with friends this evening so its nice that I can wear something suitable instead of rushing out in my jeans as I had feared I might have to. Its finished and packed in its own snug bag. Terry will post it this afternoon while I keep my 4.00 appointment. AND I managed to get rid of the wavy edges. I ran a gathering thread around the edge and lightly gathered it before adding the binding in the normal way. I also very lightly stretched the binding as I sewed it on. This method can backfire as I've finished with the binding too tight on a previous quilt. But it worked this time! Yayy!

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Only two more sleeps!

We'll soon be leaving on our five week trip to places warmer than here! First stop Portland, Oregon. Due to the wonders of the International Dateline, we leave Wanganui at 1.00 pm on Saturday, travel for 26 hours and arrive in Portland at 5.30 pm the same day. And I'm so close to getting the Elemental Challenge quilt finished. Its been a bit of a race.

Look here: the long shot shows you the quilt, all quilted. It just needs to be trimmed, bound and have the label put on. Then I need to make a travelling bag for it and post it. The labels are printed (one for the quilt, one for the bag), the entry form is completed and the cheque written. If nothing important crops up for me to do tomorrow (apart from my planned tasks) then I should get it finished. Fingers crossed for me please!

The second two photos are close ups of the quilting, the lower part is
quilted in strata lines and the upper quarter with leaves. Heavier, slightly arched lines were quilted across the quilt first and the close quilting is kept in between those lines.

You can't see it on the photo but the quilt is quite wavy at the edges. If you have any ideas on how to alleviate that as I put the binding on I'd love to hear them. I'm thinking of cutting the binding to match the length through the centre length and width of the quilt and pinning the sides to fit the binding. I don't like the finish at the corners when the binding is done like that instead of being turned around the corners though. Has anyone mitred binding at their corners? Do you think that would work?

If you want to follow our travels they will be recorded here by one or other of us, on this blog, whenever we can get access to a computer. I'll try to get time to post a pic of the finished quilt tomorrow but I might not manage it. I'm still hoping to get the sewing room vacuumed before I leave... Helen and Frances are coming on Sunday to play there!

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Well, duh!

I've spent my spare moments over the last four days, hand sewing the labels and sleeves on the two quilts I'll be taking way with us for gifts, the one for Caroline and the Orange Explosion. I've been thinking, no, I won't post yet, I'll wait until I've got photos of the labels and of the finished quilts, then I'll post. Well, guess what? I've finished the quilts, I've sewn on the labels and sleeves AND I've wrapped the quilts in little cotton bags and tied them up with big bows and I'm blowed if I'm unwrapping them to get photos! So, here is the photo of the finished quilts and here is the poem Terry wrote for the label on the Orange Explosion. If you like it and want to use it on your quilt label you are welcome.

Use this quilt any way you want

Right way up - or back to front

It’s got a sleeve for hanging on the wall

Just like a picture, and it won’t fall.

You can throw it in the car as a picnic rug

Or wrap it round each other in a loving hug

Squeeze it, scrunch it, throw it around

Or just leave it lying on the ground.

Use it on a table, give it to the cat

Wrap it round your head like a very tall hat!

But it’s too big for a hankie, I suppose

So please don’t use it to blow your nose.

It’s been a pleasure to make so take it please

You can use it to warm your winter knees

And if you tire of having it stay

Make someone else happy and give it away!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

What am I going to wear??

Deciding what to pack for the trip is always fraught. It gives me sleepless nights! (I know, I know, you wish you had my problems!) I don't like to take too much because I know I'll buy more while I'm away, but I want to be prepared for a range of temperatures and situations (business, travel, sightseeing, eating out). I want all my shirts (3 sleeveless, 2 short sleeved), cardigans (1 casual, 1 evening) and jackets (1 dressy, 1 rain) to go with all my trousers (1 cargo, 1 light denim, 1 dressy) and skirts (1 light)... and this time its complicated by the fact that I've lost nearly 20 kg since the end of last year and I don't have many summer clothes that fit me. I need to pack summer clothes because we are travelling to the northern hemisphere but its winter here and its winter clothes I've been buying over the last couple of months as I came down a couple of dress sizes. I've had some clothes given me by my daughter and I'll take some of them. One pale pink t-shirt she gave me had long, flared sleeves and I decided today to cut them short and make it into a summer shirt. Here is the end result. I've cut the sleeves off, and hemmed them so the cut edge hangs lower than the hem. I also added some decoration by ironing interfacing to a piece of patterned silky material. I cut the motifs from the fabric and stuck them on the shirt with vliesofix. I then free-motion stitched over the motifs. I imagine the edges of the motifs will fray once its washed but I stitched very close to the edge so that should be ok. The black "stitching" on the pink shirt is actually drawn on with a fine pigma pen.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

A Gentle Saturday

T'was a gentle Saturday because I wasn't feeling 100%. Just a bit of a cold but there was no need to push myself so I didn't. Helen came to use the SwiftQuilter so I took the opportunity to borrow some of her energy and spent the day in the sewing room with her. Instead of lolling around feeling grotty I actually achieved something useful and completed the 2 blocks and appliqué prep for the Cotton-on Quilter's raffle quilt. Two 5" blocks, 5 leaves and 2 flower parts took me all day, t'was a gentle day...

The first pic shows Helen's quilt on the frame ready to quilt - and looking at the pic now I realise the backing is on the roller upside down but it seemed to work ok. And the second shows Helen working on a birds nest - the result of forgetting to put the presser foot down before starting to sew - she only did it once in a whole day's quilting but I got a pic of it! In the background you can see my elemental challenge quilt. I have sewn the strips together in pairs but that's as far as its got at the moment. I may get something done on it today.

The next two pics show my other project that is taking most of my time. In three weeks we will be leaving for a five week trip. Half work, half play. The first week will be spent in the USA visiting nurseries and hopefully selling seed. The second week will be in Canada visiting friends. The third week in Germany on business again and the fourth week we will be in France. We have been invited to a wedding there! 7 years ago a young French student came to work in our nursery for 6 weeks as part of her degree programme. She wrote a report of her time here and in the report was a drawing of our nursery. I hope she hasn't found my blog yet because the photos show the quilt I am making for her wedding present using her plan of our nursery as my pattern. I designed the border to complement the plan and I've made it a suitable wall hanging or coffee table size. In the first pic you can see her original drawing, my enlargement of it and the quilt. I haven't quilted the border area or the top right quarter of the plan, the rest is pretty much complete.

Monday, 4 June 2007

What a neat day!

I spent the day sewing at Helen's place with a whole bunch of good friends. Helen made a really lovely chicken soup and homemade olive bread, and others had brought savoury muffins, pizza, and date scones - it was all very tempting but the only thing that was gluten free was the soup! I did ask permission to scrape the topping off one piece of pizza though and it was yummy.

I had decided to treat myself and start another quilt even though I have about six unfinished. There is a challenge that I've been wanting to make a quilt for but didn't think I'd be able to meet the deadline. It is to depict one or more of the four elements, finished size 1.5m x 0.5m, i.e., long and thin. I have quite a stash of earth fabric so when I was invited to spend the day sewing with company I decided it would be a good occasion to try this technique I found on L Carlene Raper's site. It didn't require too much concentration to freehand cut the strips and more or less randomly sew them together which is a good thing when you are chatting as well as sewing. At the moment they are still just strips placed on the design wall. I still need to trim them and sew them one to another. I have laid a few patches on top of bits I will cut out of the strips too, before I sew them together. And do I want to put a border on it, or inset in it? Do I want to couch something on the surface or will the quilting be enough? How will I quilt it? Does it need more sky? Less sky? More black? Less apricot? Will I cut the edges straight???? Hmmmm....