Sunday, 23 April 2017

Spools & Strings & other things

After I had put away my tiny 9Patch blocks yesterday I made some 5" single colour String blocks.
As I had been sewing the 9Patches I made a few Spool blocks, Leaders & Enders style.

6 of each to add to my growing stash.
Here they are:
Last night was Awards and Quiz Night for the Hospital Radio Station where I have been a member since March 1997.
I broadcast every week, was Duty Producer of the Wednesday evening team for around 11 years but now I only write and produce special programmes.  Since I was ill 5 years ago I am wary of visiting the wards as I don't want to lay myself open to infections. This is a sadness for me because I loved going round the wards, chatting to patients and their visitors, collecting requests and then being on air for 2 hours, creating and delivering a Request Show programme with my team.  We had lots of fun and the patients loved the shows.
However, last night I had a lovely surprise, as I was awarded with my
20 years HBA - Hospital Broadcasting Association - certificate.

It was a lovely evening, good fun with the Quiz (3 Radio friends and my husband).  We called ourselves III + II as we were 3 ladies and 2 men!  Very tight match only a few points between us and the winners.  Lots of laughter and  conversation. They're a good crowd.

So today has been Church, a bit of gardening (lots to do but my cold has stopped me doing much this week), housework and now I'm off to get our tea, a Prawn Stir fry.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Practice makes perfect

Over the years I have been quilting I have made loads of 9Patch blocks, usually using separate 2.5" squares as I always have a supply of these on hand, cut from small scraps.

eg in my numerous Wonky Wishes star quilt and blocks:

I have already used the strip method of dark, light, dark matched with light, dark, light but again I think I have usually used 2.5" strips to make those 9Patches.

I was looking at Cathy's Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting blog and admired the tiny 3" finished 9Patches she made from 1.5" strips.  She describes in detail how to make these in a tab (HELP WANTED!!! (39P Swap) at the top her blog.
As I have a lot of thinner scrap strips I decided to give it a go. I am not the most accurate of sewers so found this exercise quite challenging.  But I persevered and am amassing a collection of finished tiny 9Patches.

Finished earlier this week:

Completed 9Patches in piles (2, 3, 4 or more of each colourway)

Today I sewed already cut strips together, number of finished blocks I cut make depended on the length of strips I had:

These were sub cut into 1.3" pieces:

And then assembled into 9Patches:

No plan to use them yet, so I'll squirrel them away until a suitable project pops into my head.
I thought I could use them as corner stones in borders, or even to make a quilt border.
Or alternate them with solid coloured patches.  We'll see.

Now off to make some more 5" String blocks which will be a nice change from being so precise!!

However I do think the old adage "Practice makes perfect" is right..............  in my case I think I am getting better, certainly not perfect!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Playing with Scraps

Over the Easter weekend I managed to find some time to sew, making up the Spool blocks I had put together in sets a few days ago. That made another 19 Spools to add to my previous ones.

Then I decided to look through my bags of strings and sorted out ones which were narrower than the 1.5" widths I needed for Spool blocks or strings which weren't a uniform width.
These I sorted into colours and made more single colour 5" String blocks.
This time I made some neutral ones too:

I really enjoyed making all of these scrap blocks and now I'm off to cut out more strips to make some 9 Patches using 1.5" strips.
Finding sewing is good therapy for the cold I woke up with this morning!
We have had such cold weather this last week after a very warm weekend the one before Easter so I think the huge change in temperature is the reason why I've got a cold.  I had intended to do some gardening today but I'm afraid that's not going to happen.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Here's the link
Cathy's Spool Quilt
 For Cathy's Spool quilt

Sewing Spool blocks

I love making use of scraps and have admired the Spool blocks Cathy has made and shown on her blog Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting.

Cathy made them over ( I think) a couple of years as part of the blocks she makes each month in her Rainbow Scrap Challenge collection of  blocks.  Recently she showed the completed Spool Quilt which was amazing. Do take a look at it! Sorry I don't know how to direct you to the actual link - I don't have sufficient technical skills.

783 Spools: A Finish is the title of the post on Sunday 26th March 2017.

I haven't had much time for sewing since our return from NZ but I have cut out lots of pieces to make Spool blocks and have managed to squeeze in a little time to sew a few together.

I love the variety of fabrics, hoping to sew a few more together in the next day or two. Some of the background fabrics I have chosen have worked out more successfully than others.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Last quilting in NZ

Yesterday was my last Patchwork meeting in NZ for 2017.
I had a very productive day, using scraps to make 2 more drawstring bags for Jennie's stall:


And back

And back
I also made 3 more 10.5" QAYG String blocks for Jan at Sew many quilts too little time blog.
That makes a total of 9 blocks which I will mail to her when I go into town on Tuesday.
It's cheaper for me to send blocks to Jan in Australia from here in NZ than from the UK ( postage charge is quite prohibitive now).
Here they are, all 9 of them:

Hope Jan likes them.  I know she is busy using up QAYG blocks that have been gifted to her so perhaps these will mix in nicely with ones she is sewing up at present.


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Drawstring bag

Yesterday was my last Motueka Quilting Connection meeting before we go back to the UK. 
I used the morning to make a little Drawstring bag, using 2.5" squares kindly gifted to me by my lovely Blog-land friend Jo ( her blog is butter z).

The pattern is from Pink Penguin blog, a Tutorial for a Reversible drawstring bag.
All the materials came from my rapidly diminishing NZ stash.

And the other side:

I am gifting this to my Patchwork friend Jennie for her stall which sends money to the Gambia which supports a school over there.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

A better photo

A better photo, I hope, of the quilt I posted yesterday:

The first photos I took yesterday showed the colours in the quilt quite well but for some reason the computer rotated them through 180 degrees! It was possible to rotate them back correctly to add to my Flickr site koshka2
but that didn't work for my blog post.
So I took new photos which I used in my blog yesterday.  It had started to get dark by then so the colours weren't as sharp and bright.
I am hoping today's picture is better!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

All that Jazz

I had a productive day at my Vintage Quilters Patchwork Group yesterday.

I used 16 already made 4.5" Crumb blocks and a FQ from the same bundle that I used for my last Strawberries and Butterflies Quilt and make a Premature baby quilt top.

During the day I made the top, sandwiched and machine quilted and bound it.
My second quilt finish this year.

It measures 21" x 22".

The backing I bought from Spotlight, not for this quilt, but for my UK stash.
I didn't have enough strawberry fabric left for the backing so used this pretty animal one.

Both of these photos are far too pale: the actual quilt is much brighter and vibrant,
hence it's title: All that Jazz

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Strawberries and Butterflies - a finish

My first finished quilt of 2017..............................  Drum roll please!

I present "Strawberries and Butterflies"!

This little Premature baby Quilt was made from already completed 4.5" Crumb blocks, alternating with 4.5" butterfly fabric blocks cut from a FQ which has been in my NZ stash for some years. The sashing is a Strawberry one which I bought this year at Spotlight. I also used the Strawberry fabric for the backing and binding.
The quilt measures 22" x 24" which I understood to be the size required by our local Maternity Unit at Motueka. Apparently those are the maximum measurements: anything from 18" x 21" is required.
Thankfully mine was acceptable and I received some nice comments following Show and Tell.

So pleased to finally have a finished quilt to show for all the sewing I have done since being in NZ from the beginning of January.  However  today at my Quilting Group I put together another Premature baby quilt and sandwiched it ready to quilt and bind at my Saturday Group meeting.

I handed in Strawberries and Butterflies at today's meeting and will give my current project in at the next meeting on 15th March. It's another variation of Crumb blocks

Monday, 20 February 2017

UFO, finished Down Under!

Still in full swing using up scraps here Down Under in NZ.

This time, a pair of almost finished placemats. Why didn't I finish them? No idea, but they have been languishing in my NZ stash for years!

Now finished and ready to be gifted. One of my Patchwork Group friends, Jennie, is having a stall at the next Quilt Show in May. She raises money to help a school in the Gambia.  I thought perhaps someone might fancy these appliqued placemats - every dollar helps.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Orphans no more!

I have had a busy week on the sewing front, including 2 Patchwork group meetings ( one with each of the groups I belong to here in NZ).

I put into practice my idea to use the 5 "mistake" orphan string blocks, trimmed them down to 4.5" and turned them into QAYG star blocks, finishing at 12.5".

These are for Adrienne's Block Drive ( On the windy side blog), so she can make Children's Quilts which will be sent to Kaikoura for children affected by the November earthquake.

Not a great photo, doesn't really show up the colours and the Perle stitching.

My favourite block is this one:

I was also pleased with how the yellow string square showed up in the star block.  It hadn't worked as I had intended - hence being relegated to "Orphan block" status.
But as the centre of a star I think it works well.

Thanks to Jo's contribution of extra 2.5" squares I was able to make another 16 Twinkler blocks:

That takes my total of Twinklers to 61.  These will go home to the UK with me and then I'll probably need to sew more of them so I can eventually make a quilt for the Siblings Together charity.
Haven't worked out the maths yet as the quilt size requested is a minimum of 50" square.

I have also made a Premature baby quilt for our NZ local hospital but that will be in another post when I have finished hand sewing the binding,

So I feel I have had a productive week and enjoyed the company of fellow quilters too.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Such kindness!

I have followed Jo's blog butter z for a while. Jo lives in Victoria, Australia and for most of the year I live in the very centre of England.  For three months each year I live in New Zealand, so I am geographically a little closer to Jo.  We have never met - except in cyber space - but exchange quite a few emails and comment on each other's blog posts.  As a result I feel I "know" Jo and consider her to be one of my quilting friends. Jo has also sent me some lovely hand stitched Christmas tree decorations which hang in pride of place on our Christmas tree.

Jo read one of my recent posts saying I was running out of 2.5" scrap squares for my Twinkler blocks and, guess what I received in the post?  A packet of squares!

Mixed with some of the leftover squares I had, I have managed to sort out colour sets for 16 more Twinkler blocks!

So, Jo, THANK YOU!  You really are such a kind lady, your kind thought is very much appreciated.
Postage these days is prohibitively expensive so I appreciate you gift even more.

There are lots left over, including lots of neutral squares and I have two ideas for using those. That will be when I'm back in the UK where I have lots more squares waiting to join their Aussie cousins.  The rest of Jo's coloured squares will be mixed with my English stash for lots more Twinklers.

In the meantime those 16 Twinklers wait for me to sew them up.
My husband always comments that Quilting ladies are all lovely people - and he has met a few over the past 20 years I have been quilting.  And do you know what?............
He's absolutely right!

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Busy with scraps

Still having fun sewing up scraps. Had a great day at my Quilting Group on Saturday and managed to sew another 16 Twinkler blocks.

I now have a total of 45 blocks, a good start for the basis of a Scrap Quilt. But I have run out of enough 2.5" squares to have enough variety to make more so I have started to use the 5 orphan String blocks to make large Wonky Stars.
Here's the first one:

Four more to go.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Trying to be technical

I am not a technical person - not at all!
I very kind lady called Margaret found my blog via a friend but has pointed out to me that I don't have a "Follow me " button on my blog. I'm sure there used to be one, so I do not know what has happened to it.

I have spent ages trying to figure out how to rectify this problem.
So this post is so I can see if it's worked.
Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Using up scrap strings

When I ran out of small calico squares for my Twinkler blocks I made some string blocks.  I didn't have many strings in my stash but I sorted them into colours and just used a 5" paper foundation for them.

This what I made:

and then these mistakes!

Not sure how it happened, but when I came to trim the blocks I discovered the papers hadn't been cut at 5", more like 4.75".  Also I was running out of lengths to make the strings so started piecing strips.
I used one of those pieced yellow strips for the centre of the block and it doesn't work, the definition of the centre is lost.  However, we learn from mistakes so I won't do that again. The pieced strings look OK in the other parts of the square.
So, I have put these 5 blocks aside to be used as Orphan Blocks in the future.
And that's the end of my strips that can be used this way. Just a few scraps left which can be incorporated in Crumb blocks.
I will take the string blocks home with me to the UK and then I can make loads more to add to them so eventually I will have enough for a quilt.  I'll probably take the Twinkler blocks back too as I don't think I will be able to make enough here to make a quilt.

Loving making Twinklers!

I had another Patchwork Group sewing day on Saturday, then a couple of hours on Sunday morning when I was able to work through my plastic bag of Twinkler block sets to make a LOT of Twinklers.

Blue ones:
Yellow ones:
Purple ones:

Green ones:

Pink ones:
Red ones:

30 Twinkler blocks in total!
I still have more sets of coloured squares cut out but I ran out of calico 1.5" squares.
I have now cut out enough to use up all my coloured 2.5" squares so next Patchwork Group day or the next time I have the opportunity at home to sew, they will be completed.
I love these blocks, so pretty and a great use of scraps.
Thank you, Cathy of Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting for giving me this idea.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Twinkler blocks

I really enjoy following Cathy and her posts on her blog called Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting.

Cathy does all the things I like to do - use up scraps! She follows the RSC each month and then some! She makes loads of different blocks each month and then when she has enough of one design of block she makes a quilt from them.

One of her recent quilt finishes was using blocks she called Twinkler blocks. 
I had never heard of these blocks before and trawled back through her posts to find a pattern for them.  Now, of course I can't remember where I found that but whilst I was cutting up my NZ scraps I made a pack for Twinkler blocks: 2.5" squares of all the different coloured fabrics I had and 2.5" & 1.5" cream calico squares cut from various bits and pieces of calico. 

Yesterday I sewed some of these blocks together, 9 so far and I love them.

As you can see there are even some Christmas fabric scraps in the blocks but I think that just adds interest ( I did leave out the squares of red fabric with 'Merry Christmas" written all over them in gold!).  I am also an avid Bonnie Hunter fan and I know she would add Christmas fabrics so, if it's good enough for her, it's good enough for little old me.
Lots more scraps left so I can happily sew some more at my Patchwork meeting on Wednesday. I bought an orange dot Fat Quarter at the Show on Thursday so I'll cut up a few squares from that to add to my orange mix.
Joining up with Nicky's Scraptastic Tuesday on mrs sew and sow blog

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Local Quilt Show

Yesterday I had a super time, firstly attending an excellent lecture by a wonderful quilter called
Ansa Breytenbach, now living here in New Zealand but originally from South Africa. The Show was being held at St Thomas's Church in Motueka and before the Show officially opened Ansa inspired and amused us all explaining how she came to quilting after she and her husband and sons arrived in NZ back in 2002.  She had always been able to sew but had not been interested in quilting until her husband enrolled her in a quilting class to help her overcome home sickness.

What a journey he started Ansa on!  Her style is machine applique, very large quilts with amazingly intricate machine quilting.  She enters many shows, a lot in the States and has won Blue Ribbons. Several of her quilts wer hung at the Show and they were absolutely breathtaking.  The amount of work, applique and quilting were unbelievable! Google Ansa to find out more of her work.

This huge quilt was called Good Vibrations (remembering the Beach Boys' pop song)

 And here is the back where you can see the amazing quilting!  
You can see how Ansa matches all her colours of threads to the actual colour of fabric in the quilt top.  She does all her quilting on a domestic machine!

These four stars were part of a very large red and white quilt: amazing points, quilting and hundreds of diamond-like tiny beads.

One of the stars in even more close up.

And a fun quilt, smaller this time, with funky frogs.


One of the local quilters, Linda Payne, had this amazing work on show.
She had taken 17 years to complete her work of art. The idea started when she saw an article in a newspaper article about a Persian rug which was in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. The rug was over 2000 years old and caught Linda's attention. She decided to replicate it.  Just incredible.  Can't imagine how many thousands of stitches are in it.
This photo shows most of the rug, but I couldn't get all the borders and the wool fringe top and bottom into my picture.

Part of the centre Stars section in close up:
One of the horses in a border. Some of the horses were being riden others led:

Another border of moose-like animals: 

Many, many more lovely quilts, showing all kinds of craftsmanship.
This cot quilt amused me. The maker said she had been given the partly worked cot quilt so she had finished it. She now had to make another as her daughter is expecting twins!
I loved this Dragonfly. It's body was 3D:
And the Owl Quilt, which was full of Maori symbols:
This sign explains their meanings:
So, a wonderful Show, a great tribute to all the clever sewers in our district.  Thank you to the organisers, the contributors, Ansa and all the folk who set up the Exhibition and who will be taking it down tomorrow teatime.