Just Enough Ruffles for Sarah

As the school year finishes in Australia only a few days before Christmas, I decided to make gifts for Sparky’s teacher and teacher’s aide in the middle of the year.

For his teacher’s aide, I decided to make a ruffley scarf that my local yarn shop had as a sample, Just Enough Ruffles. As she seems to wear a lot of black or earth tones, I knitted this in black for her using Cascade Cloud. SO SOFT. It’s really lovely; I MAY have gotten some in red to make one for myself as well.

All the details are on Ravelry: Just Enough Ruffles on Ravelry.

I didn’t photograph it very well, but I was quite pleased with it.
'Just Enough Ruffles' scarf for Sarah

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I have always been terrified of quilting, the actually quilting of the top, batting, and backing together. I used to have access to a gigantic quilting machine, but I no longer have access to it. I’ve used a walking foot, but it stresses me out so much. I’m not good with it. I find it hard to not have the layers go crazy. I hate juggling the size of the quilts – it’s so awkward!

I’d always assumed that free motion quilting would be SO difficult -but I decided to get a foot and give it a go. My first try with the foot was the centre heart of the Rainbow Monkeys quilt.

I have the modern Japanese fabric quilt top finished, so decided to use it to practice. I need practice in order to learn, so decided to use it. I decided to just go for it and scribble to get the feel of the free motion foot.
I can see progress
It was kinda awful, but I was getting the feel of it. I was also using some thread that was AWFUL. So much FLUFF in my machine – and I think in cleaning it out I messed up the tension somehow. It was kinda awful. This was the 2nd time I’d cleaned out the machine that day:
I cleaned this yesterday. This thread is TERRIBLE.
Hell. Cleaning the machine has killed the tension.
However I was getting a feel for stippling. It was actually coming along well!

I mentioned what I’d been doing at my favourite fabric shop, Frangipani Fabrics, and Cath mentioned that there was a free motion quilting class coming up. I signed up immediately. It was great, but I need to do a lot of practice!
More sand - and bad spirals and echoes
More practice at home”
And more:
Free motion quilting practice

I enjoyed the class a lot, and then I looked at the teacher’s website. I’ve looked at it before, but this time I was not just looking at the free motion quilting enviously but also looking at the skill. Suddenly it hit me how not just silly it was for me to be frustrated that I wasn’t immediately good at it but it was also insulting of me. She’s a professional. She took time to learn how to do her work.

I’m trying to remember this. I’m trying not to bad-mouth my efforts (I’m not succeeding but being aware even when I don’t succeed is a first step!). I’m trying to do a bit every day; to learn this. I’m trying to enjoy doing this, because if I’m stressing out about something that’s a hobby what is the point?!

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Since my post about my MIL’s quilt a month ago, my blog was down for a bit, but I finished the quilt! I wanted to get it done before she left overseas, and I’m glad I did. If I didn’t I was going to leave it there for her to see when she arrived – but this way I saw her reaction. She genuinely looked pleased – and she loved the backing fabric and frame borders that the lovely staff at Frangipani Fabrics helped me find.

QUILTED. Bindings start tomorrow.
I finished my MIL's quilt!
I finished my MIL's quilt!
Finished quilt.
MIL's quilt finished and washed
MIL's quilt back: Water Dreaming designed by Poly Weaver for M & S Textiles Australia.
MIL’s quilt in situ.
Quilt in its new home
She honestly looks pleased with it.
Nanny Patsy matches her quilt

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Rainbow Monkey almost finished!

In February 2012 I had an idea for a quilt and started out making ‘Rainbow Monkeys’. I had no idea what I was doing, but I really liked the quilt. I used a computer to figure out the colours:
Rainbow Monkeys
But I had no idea how to actually execute it. I basically started with the 4 middle blocks in dimensions that made sense to me, drew the others around them, then cut the other pieces out to use as templates for cutting fabric!
Making My Design a Reality, Playing with Colour and Geometry
A year later, and in the new house, I made some more progress.
Two more rows to go!
By March 2013 I was finished!
FAR from perfect...but now just in need of some borders.
March 2014, and it was still one of my WIPs.
Several projects to finish!
Part of the reason it stayed a work in progress for so long was that I LOVED it. When I started it, Sparky was only 5 months old. It was really hard to work on in the old house where I sewed on the dining room table, so I had to pack up or we had nowhere to eat. Once I’d finished it in the new house, I couldn’t decide if it was finished. I really liked it, and Sparky liked it, so I thought maybe I should make it bigger! But part of the reason against that is I’ve learned so much more since I started it. You would really see a difference in the quilting. That’s good – but might look a bit bad in the finished quilt – or at least detract from it. I’ve been thinking of quilting it as a small practice quilt.

I think this is something I should take some time out for. I plunged into quilting not knowing what I was doing or how to do it, making my own mistakes instead of bothering someone with questions. Also I used to have access to a gigantic quilting machine, so I didn’t take any time to learn to sew on my domestic machine. It is time I did – and time I go easy on myself and start small. I’m certain it’s something that takes time, which I don’t usually give to myself. I should – give myself the gift of time to learn.

Late this morning my husband took the boy out for a place, so I spontaneously decided to finish this quilt off! No over think it, just finish it off.
Hubs took the boy out, so I decided to work on this
I’ve kinda parked the idea of making this quilt larger; I’d like to made it again someday. And I think I could make it better, so that frees me to consider this a practice. So, meh, I didn’t mind using up bits and pieces of batting.
Frankenstein batting
I decided to try to do spiral quilting again.
Start of a spiral
Pinned and ready to go
I’d gotten some rather lovely rainbow thread, so decided to use that.
Winding a rainbow bobbin
After doing the spiral, I decided to put a heart in the centre. I’ve gotten a free motion thingsy – but I’ve been scared to try it. The first side of the heart (right) didn’t go so well, but after that I turned the machine’s speed down and thr right side went much better. Not perfect, but I’m happy to have given myself the experience.
Attempted some free motion
I even got the bindings onto the front of the quilt, but I didn’t get a photos. So all that’s left to do is hand sew the bindings down to the back!

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Sunday Stash: MIL’s Lap Quilt Progress

6 years ago, I made a lap quilt for my mother in law. I wasn’t very experienced with quilting, so it wasn’t awesome – but she’s kindly had it out on her couch ever since.
12 of 12: A Thing for my MIL
She has recently moved into a new house that she had built. It’s very different from the old house: modern, bright, and everything is white, red, and black. She obviously needs a new lap quilt. She’s been thinking about building this house for years, and I made a start on a new lap quilt for her in October 2014.
The start of my MIL's Christmas gift
At one point I didn’t think she’d ever get the house built, so I put the project aside so it wouldn’t mock her! But now it is all built and looks fantastic.

Originally I was going to put some lovely Japanese fabric with the star blocks – fabulous fabric with greys, blacks, reds,and white. I proudly showed her the fabric, and she told me she doesn’t like Japanese fabric. I’m glad she told me as I LOVE it, so it would be terrible to waste it on her. However it’s meant I’ve been making these blocks and not really known what I’d do with them. With the Japanese fabric I was going to alternate the square blocks with squares of the Japanese fabric. I decided I’d add white around so the stars would be ‘floating’ rather than the points touching the neighbouring blocks. Now I had to rethink things and find other fabrics to go with the blocks. The grey in the blocks is almost a purple-y grey, so I was having trouble matching it to greys or even blacks with greys, but I found a few possibilities. None I was thrilled with, but possibilities. I kept making star blocks.
Some blocks for my MIL's lap quilt
Last week I took some of the blocks to Frangipani Fabrics, and Briony and Cath made some suggestions. I kinda thought my MIL would like some sort of floral or leaves, but not too fussy. Nothing really fit that, but they showed me some aboriginal fabrics that I loved. I didn’t know how my MIL would react to them. But the more I looked at the ‘Plum Seeds by Kathleen Pitiara’ fabric, the more I could imagine it in this quilt. I could sort of fussy-cut it and frame the blocks – and I found some red fabric with faint circles that would look nice the in the ‘corners’ of the frames (I bought fat quarters of this, so don’t know the fabric’s name). This is the general idea:
Framing the blocks with 'Plum Seeds' by Kathleen Pitiara
And for the back, Briony suggested this, and I think it will be just the thing.
For the backing of my MIL's quilt?
It was with great trepidation that I took the fabrics and some of the blocks with me for my first visit to my MIL’s new house, but the exciting thing was that SHE LOVED THEM!! So this afternoon I made a bit of progress (the last couple photos above). The light was fading, so I’ve started cutting the Plum Seeds fabric but haven’t yet started piecing. I’m still not sure if the quilt will be 3 x 3 or 4 x 4, but I’ll do some of the framing and see what I think. It’s not an exact science!

So, that’s the newest fabric in my stash – although it won’t last long!

Some notes for myself:

  • 2 inch white strips so the blocks float.
  • Cut 2 x 10.5 and 2 x 13.5.
  • The Plum Seeds are cut 2 & 1/8 inches to each side of the centre of the design.
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Seville Progress!!!

I’ve finally finished the Green, Blue and Purple Equilateral Triangle quilt for my neighbour’s baby, but I’ve just washed it and will take final photos tomorrow. However it’s FINISHED!

I’ve had a quilt top, Cluck Cluck Sew’s Seville, finished all except the borders since August 2013.
I just need to do borders, then it is ready to quilt.

FINALLY! I had this all finished except the borders in September 2013. I wonder how many years until I quilt it.

I wonder how long it will take for me to quilt it.

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Sunday Stash: let’s finish some WIPs

I’m determined to finish a few WIPs. For example, this quilt has just been waiting for borders since August 2013!!!
I just need to do borders, then it is ready to quilt.

I’ve even had the fabric for the inner borders (white) cut. They’re SOMEWHERE in my sewing room. And I have the fabric for the outer borders. So I needed something for the bindings and backing. I’m really pleased with what I found at Frangipani Fabrics.
Backing and binding

In the interests of getting things finished, I’d considered and decided against making my Retro Flowers quilt larger, i.e. doing 25 flowers rather than the 16 I had originally planned. I almost have all 16 flowers finished.
More progress - Retro Flowers

But then when I buying the backing and binding, somehow I also bought these:
Oooohhhh fabric

They’d fit in really well. Hmm. Sigh. What to do, what to do?!

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Colour Crazy Equilateral Triangles

I’ve been wanting to experiment with this for ages, but getting the fabric for it has been impossible – until recently a shop opened up that stocks the foll range of Kona solids. Now I can just walk into a shop and do this:
I didn’t really know how much to cut up. I had 10 inch strips, and strangely I decided to do 5 1/2 in triangles. I just cut a strip worth of each. If I’d been thinking it through more, I would have gotten slightly wider strips. Whatever – I had a 4-year-old with me in the shop, so I’m lucky I made it out.
I’m making this for my neighbour’s baby. He’s almost 6 months old, so I kinda feel wish I’d done 4 1/2 inch triangle now so that I could have done more triangles and made him a larger quilt.
Arranging, thinking. . .
But I’m really enjoying this, so this won’t be the last time I try out this idea.
Getting there

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WIP: Retro Flowers

I’ve already mentioned the quilt I’ve been working on since I did the curves class last Saturday. I’ve completed more ‘petals’ since this photo was taken, but it gives you and idea of where it is going.

More progress

I knew learning how to piece curves that would then sit flat on a quilt would be tricky. The first few I did really felt awkward. It took several pieces for me to get a feel for it. At first I was SO uncomfortable!

However I didn’t realise that sewing the curves wouldn’t be the major effort for this quilt. There is a LOT of cutting. Cutting the pieces to create the blocks to make up petals, but then after the bright fabric and grey are joined either with a curve or straight borders, each block must then be re-trimmed. Usually I love that sort of precision work, however I’m still ill – and keep making mistakes. Eek.

A long process

Some of the mistakes mean I just plain need to redo the block (like mistakes trimming blocks when tired and sick), but there’s others where I don’t know what to do! I was being so careful of the few blocks with pattern that they at least went in the same direction, but in my sick addle minded stupidity I paid attention not to change the direction when piecing the rounded blocks – but changed every single one of the curved blocked joined to a square block. And I didn’t realise I was doing this until today.

Oh dear. To unpick or not to unpick?

Hmm. . .should I unpick and redo these?

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Sunday Stash: Here Come the Curves

I had vowed that I would sew from my stash this year. Yup. Sure. Well I have been using my stash quite a lot, but I have also bought a bit of fabric. Just a bit.

I’ve never done a ‘Sunday Stash’ post here before, but I quite like the idea – pausing after making purchases to reflect on what you’ve gotten, perhaps play with it with other things in your stash. Usually I just hide it away before my husband sees how much fabric has entered the house.

I’ve had a summer cold this week, but I WAS NOT going to miss a class I signed up for a curves class at Frangipani Fabrics. I don’t do classes often, and I was really looking forward to learning how to do curves. These are my first ones, and although they aren’t perfect, they’re CURVES!


As I’m ill I haven’t given myself as much practice as I’d like, but I’m beginning to get the feel of it. Just looking at the start even looks wrong!

Sewing curves just looks. . .wrong

I already had my fabrics chosen for the quilt that this will make, but here’s where the stash bit comes in: I bought some more fabric. I couldn’t help it. I was at Frangipani Fabrics, and they have this lovely system where when you buy fabric you wind up with a credit for later, and they’re so lovely and have such yummy fabrics, and and. . . I decided to add a few fabrics to my curves project and swap out some I’d already chosen. I don’t think this is a traditional ‘Sunday Stash’ post as they’re not all from the same designer, but here are my additions:

Sunday stash

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