"It takes ages to finish a quilt you're not working on!"

Friday, March 30, 2012

Truckload of fabric - FREE!

When people decide they have had enough of a hobby, there is usually a pile of un-used stash or half finished projects to be disposed of. Particularly so with those who sew or knit - fabric, cottons, wool are out the door! I have been the lucky recipient of several such destashing events, but yesterday topped the lot.

One of the blogs I post comments on is the Melbourne Op shop blog, where I and others write about what we find at opshops, and where those shops are in case the blog readers want to go there. One of the other opshop blog girls emailed me last week to say that her mother used to sew a lot of clothes, furnishings, etc. but has had enough, and there was a heap of material to be thrown out - did I want it? What a silly question! But I didn't say that; instead I replied that I would be delighted to take it off her hands.

So, yesterday afternoon a car pulled up outside our house, and a young woman removed several bags from her car and dragged them up our driveway. I rushed down to help her, as they were obviously heavy. We got them inside, and sat down with a cuppa to talk about opshops and crafts. Jess isn't into crafty stuff at all, otherwise she probably would have kept her Mum's stash. But she didn't want it, so here is what I ended up with:
Tartans, some brushed cotton.
Soft furnishing fabrics
Variety of dress materials, batik, and patchwork fabric.  Below are the smaller pieces.  Everything else is yardage, mostly 3 metres or more. 

I am so excited with all those tartans/plaids!  I know exactly what I am going to do with them - some will be used to make quilt tops for Jan's Oz Comfort Quilts, as she said once that they don't get enough to suit boys and men.  These plaids should keep the blokes happy!
I've been itching to have a go at this cute chooks quilt made with plaids, now I have the fabric to do it...when time allows, lol!

There was actually more fabric - another bag full, but I gave it to a friend today after showing her the whole lot.  K. has a small son and is expecting another baby soon.  She makes clothes, dolls, and a lot of the furnishings for their home, curtains, cushions, etc. so she greatly appreciated the bag of mostly furnishing fabric that I didn't want for myself.  I'd rather give it to someone who will definitely use it, than to the opshop or someone who might just add it to their stash and it never sees the light of day again.  Of course I have way too much in my own stash, but I have plans for most of it, and I periodically cull it to keep the pile under control.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Quilt top started

Jan over at Oz Comfort Quilts needs 35 quilts for abused children. As soon as I found out how big they needed to be, I started cutting and piecing some blocks from the Batik fabric I found at the opshop last week. Luckily I found some matching plain blue and brown fabrics in my stash. Now all I have to do is decide which way to place the triangle blocks.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Two more wonky blocks.

I finally had some time to myself today while Ken was messing around in the back yard. I've been wanting to make the other two wonky blocks that Leila wrote about on her blog, and I made up my mind I was going to do them today. This one called Quarter Log Cabin block.

And this is based on the standard log cabin block.
Here are my three wonky blocks. I'm pleased I had enough of these fabrics in my scrappy stash to use for all three blocks. I doubt if I'll make anything up from them. The "wonky" look doesn't really appeal to me! I guess I could make them up into a table runner if I used sashing to separate them?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

March CQJP block completed

This is the third block in the CQJP challenge, and I'm pleased with the result.  My theme for this month was St Patrick's day in March, so I used as much green as possible, with a touch of orange here and there.


For the next few weeks I will be busy working on more tea cosies, catching up with Leila's Skills samplers blocks, and preparing the CQJP block for April.
I also want to make some more mini quilts from a book on mini quilts, and I have two books from the Embroiderers Guild library that have me itching to make some of the projects in them! But there is only so much time available, so I don't know how much I'll get done. Still, it's all fun!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

On a perfect sunny Autumn day, Bundoora Homestead held their inaugural Garden Tea Party. Thousands of people picnicked on the lawns, strolled in and out of the mansion, and checked out my tea cosy display. I was asked frequently if I'd made them all myself - the question was probably asked when they saw me stitching a doily when I was sitting at the side of the tent. Some people said to each other "What a clever way to recycle doilies" which prompted me to respond immediately that this was not the case - all my tea cosies were made up as tea cosies from scratch. Another question asked by many was "How much is this one?" and when I told them none were for sale because they are a private collection, they were astonished that one person could accumulate so many!

My spot was one of two small marquees seen here on the left.
The organisers set up two trestle tables and two chairs for me. I covered one table with a black sheet and the other with a white sheet (I borrowed the black one from a friend).
My friend Glenda came with me to help set up the display. Each cosy was supported underneath by a plastic drink bottle half, with a piece of cardboard cut to the shape of the cosy, to hold it in place.

Tired but happy at the end of the day!
In between talking to people, I did some stitching, and managed to finish this little doiley that has been in my stash for years.
Meanwhile, under the verandah of the homestead, there were half a dozen ladies busily knitting tea cosies for the Tea Cosy Festival coming up in May. I showed them my patchwork cosies made from ties, and they were impressed! As I was by their knitting...I've never been able to knit, so I am impressed by what can be made by clicking needles and wool!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Crazy, wonky blocks!

Last night, I worked on two patchwork blocks. The March block for CQJP is complete, ready to be embellished. Ken looked at it and frowned. I don't think he approved of the mish mash of green shades! Men - they just don't get it. Actually, there are a few rare males who do fabulous patchwork and quilting, but Ken probably wouldn't appreciate their work either...

The other block is a Wonky block. There are three versions of this to be done, and I'll get around to doing the Log Cabin and Half Log Cabin blocks eventually. Maybe tonight. This was the last project Leila set for her followers on the Skill Builder Sampler blog, before she had a month's break. Believe it or not, this block is exactly 11 inches square. I've taken two photos on different angles, as each one looks wonky in a different way! My version of Wonky is conservative compared to some, but it was my first attempt at this style of patchwork, and I'm sure to get wonkier with each attempt - LOL!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My vintage tea cosies on display this weekend.

A final reminder if you don't have any plans for this Sunday (18th March), why not drive over to Bundoora Homestead for the afternoon - they are having a Garden Tea Party in the grounds, with all kinds of entertainment for adults and children. As a forerunner for the Tea Cosy Festival in May, I have been invited to display my vintage tea cosy collection on Sunday. The organisers are setting up a marquee and trestle tables for me to set up my cosies, and I have been saving plastic milk and soft drink bottles to cut in half and use to prop up each cosy. Come over and say hi!

March CQ JP block

My third block for the CQ Journal Project will be shades of green in keeping with St Patrick's Day in March. I have been stitching a shamrock to use as a focal point for the block, and finished it today.  Cross stitch on 32 ct. even weave.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Framed inchies

 Instead of having my various 'works of art' framed professionally, I buy frames from opshops to have on hand for the purpose of framing the bits and pieces that haven't taken me a long time to do.  If I have taken a lot of time and effort to stitch a big project, it is worth the extra to have it done properly.  But for the inchies, this little $1 frame was just the thing!  They are held simply by one stitch in each corner on  a piece of calico, so if I want to do something better with them, it will be easy to pull it apart. 
I've now got a bag of about 50 un-embellished inchies that will sit gathering dust until I can find a use for them!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Third Tea cosy finished.

I have made another tea cosy using ties. I used most of the same fabric that is in my February CQJP block, as those reds looked sensational all together. After the mess I made of the hem on the last tea cosy, I wasn't going to put binding on the hem, but the thickness of the patchwork layers makes it a bit too thick to turn in and hand sew. I just used a wider piece of fabric instead of ribbons. It is just tacked on at the moment; haven't had a chance to slip stitch it to finish.
Little teapot button on one side may be replace by something else yet; I'm planning to buy more teapot buttons to use on all my cosies, as a kind of trademark, and I don't have enough of those very pretty buttons.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Have you ever made "Inchies"?

A few years ago when Inchies started appearing on craft blogs, I'd been up to my eyes in ATCs and fabric postcards. ATCs are the size of a regular playing card, and I thought trying to create a 'work of art' on anything smaller was a really stupid idea! I still don't consider them works of art individually, but as a collection they may have some appeal. I was browsing through the shelves of the Embroiderers Guild library yesterday when I came across this book.
Out of curiosity I took it off the shelf to have a look, and ended up borrowing it. As soon as I got home, I got out scraps of fabric and interfacing, and started experimenting. The book shows different methods of making inchies, what to do with them when they are finished, and a number of projects by different people. I chose to iron a number of 2" squares on to a larger piece of interfacing, then rule lines across each square to mark them into 1" squares.
Next I used zig zag machine stitch to sew around each one inch area,
Cut them up....

Added some embellishments in the form of beads and sequins, and positioned them in various ways on different fabrics.

What do you think? It was fun, but I'm not going to spend a great deal of time on Inchies in the near future. Not with CQ blocks and tea cosies to make!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Terrible news from America...

I've been watching videos on the net of the tornadoes in the USA, and am sickened by the sight of so many towns destroyed, and so many people killed. There was one video of a HUGE tornado right over someone's house, and a woman was praying out loud that it would go away....It was like some kind of disaster film. We have had record floods here in Australia, and many properties have been damaged or destroyed. That is bad too, but at least people have time to move to safety. Not in the case of those tornadoes. My heart goes out to all Americans, and I ask those of you in the tornado stricken areas who may be reading my blog, please post a short comment here to tell me if you are okay. My blog friends (Liz in Kansas and Pam in Illinois) are as dear to me as my friends right here in Oz, and I will be thinking of you and crossing my fingers that you are safe.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Lace peacocks from Liz!

Liz in Kansas featured some lovely lace motifs on her blog recently, one of which was a peacock. Of course I had to ask where she got it, and she offered to send me a couple in exchange for some fabric. I sent her some sparkly stuff that I had no use for, but she loves to play with, and today I received my lace peacocks.

Liz also enclosed a copy of a quilting pattern "Patched Peacocks" which she thought I would like. She was right! Can't wait to have a go at this one.
THis isn't anything stitchy, but it is the paper that Liz used to wrap the lace in - isn't it beautiful? This is one piece of wrapping paper that won't be consigned to the paper recycle bin!

Suffolk Puffs (Yo Yos)

Today was one of my volunteer days at our Guild, and I decided last night that I would take some scraps of fabric and make yo yos while looking after the Front Desk at the entrance. The Front Desk Hostess has to answer phone calls and greet anybody coming in through the door, but it's not a busy place apart from the annual Exhibition weeks, so volunteers always bring some stitching to do in between phone calls and visitors. I made nine yo-yos to add to my collection which I keep in a large glass jar.   I was asked if these were for a specific project and I said no,  I just make a few now and then, pop them in my jar, and if I need to embellish something that I'm working on, I can just pick one or two  yo yos from the jar and use them.
I'm back at the Guild next Tuesday, and I'm thinking about making hexagons instead of yo  yos.  I've seen so many pretty projects done with Hexagons, I am itching to try them.  But I will have to be more selective when I pick out fabrics; the yo yos are just any old scraps in my stash.

I've added a button to my tea cosies - see the little chicken on here?

And the ties cosy has a tiny gold teapot charm on the purple fabric.

It looks like I'll be making a LOT more teacosies than I'd originally planned!
The Guild are fund raising to cover costs of a huge renovation of our building, and the committee are calling on all members to make something of their choice to add to the Guild "Gift Shoppe" this year. In the monthly magazine, they said that tea cosies were enormously popular - in fact they ran out of them soon after the gift shop opened last year. I am confident that I can whip them up in a day, so I'll be busy from now on!