Monday, 31 March 2008

Its a Funny Thing

I think I'm allergic to my sewing room. For the last few weeks whenever I've spent an afternoon sewing I've got an itchy throat, sinus pain and shortness of breath. I wasn't sure until I took a week long break, lost the symptoms and then got them all back after another sewing session. So then I wondered if it was dust (I've tested positive to dust mite allergy) or the fumes from the unwashed fabric. It is hard to properly dust the sewing room with all the piles of fabric that I have in open wire mesh drawers and open baskets so I invested in some closed bins and put most of the fabric away. I still haven't dusted but the symptoms were much less severe after this afternoon's work on the Spring Swap Quilt so it may be that the fumes from all the unwashed fabric have been contained in the bins and you know what that means? I'm going to have to wash all my fabric. And that's not the hard part - its the Ironing Of It that will cost me so much lost Sewing Time that I resent!

So that is one reason why I haven't sewn much lately - but here is the result of today's hard work. I've vliesofixed the flowers on the Spring mini and have quilted around all the leaves and most of the flowers. There is still a lot more quilting to do but I'm happy with the arrangement.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Spring Mini Progress - yes!

Yayy! I've spent the morning sewing the Four Seasons Spring Swap quilt. As you can see from the picture I posted last, I couldn't find the right fabric to do the colours I had planned but I think its looking pretty good. I still have to sew the 2 in squares of the border and do the applique flowers and leaves. Still, its a good start.

And this afternoon we're taking time off to spend with our friends, playing catan, catching up on the goss and eating bad stuff.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Another rethink

I've been trying to get started on the fours seasons swap quilt design that I posted a week ago. But it wasn't going to work, I wasn't enthusiastic about it. Now I never intended to do "proper" applique for all those flowers and leaves, I was thinking of cutting flower and leaf motifs out of fabric and sticking them on and then just machine quilting around the raw edges, but it was still not a project I was looking forward to. So I revisited this morning and decided it was all those tiny 2" flying geese that were daunting me. So here is my re-design (and fourth start at a spring mini)! And I feel some enthusiasm so I might actually get started on this one today!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Two into one goes very nicely - twice!

Late last winter I bought four 100% cotton long-sleeved T-shirts in the Postie Plus sale. After a few washes they had gone wide and short as such shirts tend to do. (I know that if you buy cotton shirts mixed with 5-10% elastane they don't lose their shape nearly as much but they weren't in the sale.) And at the time the fashion was for barely hip length tops which only looked good when they were skin tight. So these shirts, now not skin tight and not even hip length didn't look so good when I tried them on last week when the weather was a bit cooler. I thought I would have to run a overlock down the side seams to take some of the width out of them. But the fashion for longer shirts is returning so I thought well, while I have them in the sewing room what about a remake? And look what I got - two lovely, long hip-hugging, hip (and backside) covering shirts with sleeve and neck detail. You've gotta love the current fashions for layering and for unfinished edges which makes this sort of remake very easy!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

My Kitchen Window

This is one of my favourite views - which is a very good thing when you consider how much time I spend in my kitchen at the moment. I love the view beyond the window but I also enjoy the pretty jugs and pots of flowers on the sill. You can't see the garden or the cherry trees in this photo as I have just this minute taken it and its starting to get dark.

Terry has mentioned in his blog that his excellent vegetable garden is producing a lot of lovely tomatoes and more courgettes than we can use and I have been turning them into ratatouille and tomato soup to stock our freezer. I have frozen 6 single serves and one 3 person punnet of Roast Tomato Soup today. I used
The Gluten-Free Goddess' recipe (more or less) from her blog and it turned out to be very very good.

As well as preserving goodness from our vegetable garden there have been apples and nectarines to freeze from the orchard and the peaches are nearly ready to pick. I have also been doing a lot of baking in my kitchen lately as we both prefer to eat gluten-free biscuits and bread - and they are much nicer made at home. I've regularly been making Gluten Free Flatbread and I'll give you the recipe for that shortly. Its much the nicest Gluten Free bread I've had, homemade or bought and it freshens up nicely in the toaster after its been frozen.

Do you remember back in very early January we had a visit from two of our favourite people from France? Caroline and Bruno gave me the large red gerbera on my window sill and it has had between 2 and 5 flowers on it ever since. Which is why Terry bought the little orange one the other day to keep it company. Don't they look nice in front of my little group of orange and red jugs? I bought the middle sized one in Lyon and Caroline's mother gave me the matching plate. I'm looking forward to our kitchen extension which should give me some room to display the plate too - although I will lose my lovely kitchen window!

Here is my adaptation of this Gluten Free Flatbread recipe:

Gluten Free Flatbread
· Heat 1.5 cup water to blood temperature (40 sec on high in microwave)


  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons instant yeast

Leave to froth while you mix together in a bowl:

  • 2 cup fine brown rice flour
  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons xantham or guar gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Mix in food processor

  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 4 eggs


  1. Add yeast mixture to wet ingredients
  2. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.
  3. Beat well.
  4. Spread mixture thinly with spatula to cover two non stick biscuit trays
  5. Place dough in a warm spot, allow to rise for 35-40 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 deg C Bake.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is slightly browned.
  8. It will come out of the oven with a slight crust that will go away as the bread cools. Allow the bread to cool 15-30 minutes before using. It will become flexible and soft.
  9. Cut into large pieces to use as a folded sandwich bread

Spring Mini Progress?

miniaturequilter said...

Ok, the weekend is over, I've been checking your blog to see that background sewn together-whatcha doin???

This is what I'm doing! I'm not happy with the way the Spring mini is going. I'm having second thoughts - again... The fabric I chose for the broderie perse didn't really sing with the background fabrics. I might save that background for another project and make a fresh start. I've designed a Spring Flower Vase - more along the lines of the Autumn mini I made for the first part of this Four Season's Quilt Swap. What do you think of this?

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Four Seasons Spring Progress

I've spent most of my spare time this weekend working on the Four Seasons Spring Mini. What do you think of the background? I've freehand cut rectangles, roughly 1.5" x 2" and all the scrappy rectangles are lightly stuck to iron-on interfacing.

I'm quite happy with it so far, of course it needs a lot more stitching. I'm wondering about forgetting the tulips and building a broderie perse garden with these flowers and the lovely New Zealand fantail. I don't think I'll be giving much away by saying the quilt will be travelling to a far away country and the New Zealand touch might be welcome. I'll search out some more flowers I think...

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

This one's for Helen!

On Saturday Helen came over to bring the new club banner which she had pieced. I am taking it over now and I will satin stitch around the edges of all the letters and then layer and quilt it. Helen also brought me a present - a white flannelette sheet to replace the green one on my design wall. I have complained about the green sheet and how poorly quilts photograph with a pale green background but I wasn't able to find any plain white sheets at the time. Thanks for thinking of me Helen! And here is a photo of the Row by Row (with some sashing ideas) on the new white wall - and by the way, there are more flower heads to be stuck on the stems on the wild flower strip between the two lowest rows.

And here is a photo of the first letter on the banner, satin stitched with the embroidery thread Helen gave me. I have tried both reels Helen and both broke when I went too fast. I'll see how they go if I keep the speed down! I ironed on some light interfacing before doing the satin stitch and I'm using a wide 2-step zig zag because we want the wide white edging to make the letters stand out from the background. I know my stitching isn't as smooth as it could be but I'm sure that by the time I've finished the banner it will be much better!

Monday, 3 March 2008

Four Seasons Swap - Spring

Well, even though I feel a bit overwhelmed with Stuff-To-Do, I signed up for another season in the Four Seasons Swap. I gave the Winter Season a miss because we were just coming into Summer and it was hard to get into a winter mood.

But Spring in Autumn doesn't seem so hard to imagine and I have some lovely photos Terry took a few years ago of our tulips flowering in Spring. I'll use these as the basis for my quilt. Just like last time, I will need to tweak the colours a little to fit in with my partner's preferences.

There are a number of different ways I design quilts - using EQ6, making blocks and putting them on a design wall, or drawing a picture. Sometimes I will use all these tools in one quilt. This time I will draw a picture from these photographs and make the centre before I decide on a border. I may at that stage, take a photo of the finished centre and bring it into EQ6 to help decide on a border. Or I might just put a plain border on and do some "fancy quiltin" on it.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Row by Row Quilt

Over the last 6 or 7 months I've been participating in a Row by Row Exchange. We each sewed a row 8" x 48" and then passed it on. We each sewed five more rows for five more participants and we didn't see our own quilt again until all the rows were displayed at Cotton-On Quilter's club day last Saturday. Here is what I got back:
The rows in this pic are not in the order they will be in the final quilt.

But isn't it fabulous? I really love all the rows - they are all so different and all so perfect but I have to admit, Amy's row (second from the bottom) impresses me the most. Its all PIECED! And I also love the fact that her blocks are not all the same size. Perfect for putting you a little off kilter which I love to do in my quilts.

I'm already working on some sashing strips for it. One of the sashing strips is going to echo Veronica's (third from top) lovely row of appliqued wildflowers and leaves and I will work in some more of the turquoise that Rae has introduced (her row is immediately below Veronica's). Susan made the log cabin framed sunflowers which bring in the deep orange and some necessary dark green and Annette tied the whole thing together by repeating my original flower blocks but cleverly placed them in a different spot in their row.

If you look back here you can see the picture I included with my first row (the top row in this photo) for colour inspiration for participants and the colours I got back are just perfect, don't you think?