Sunday, 7 June 2015

Nan's Improv

My guild has a monthly sew day. And in March, we had a big group sewing activity where we made scrappy improv blocks to turn into charity quilts. Unfortunately, being Presdient, I tend to spend my sew days talking to everyone instead of sewing, so I didn't actually contribute anything to the community quilts. And I went home with itchy fingers ~ someone get me to a sewing machine! STAT!

I had bought some random white material to contribute to the community quilts, but brought it home with me with the intention of making some improv blocks and then contributing them to the charity pile.

I kept within our challenge criteria - that the blocks be improv and primarily made from scrap. Lucky for me I have quite the scrap collection.

And check it - arranged by colour. Who doesn't love a rainbow?

So knowing I had white yardage I grabbed 3 random colours from the scrap pile and jumped in. Why did I pick yellow pink and orange? I have absolutely no idea. I added some grey to give it depth and from pink a bit of red came in, which I liked, and away I went.

 Chop chop chop.

I love the slice and insert type improv. It's a little bit more wasteful and crumb peicing, but I love the way it feels like there is negative space without there being big expanses of nothingness.

And it was fun!

I was whiping out 4 or 5 blocks at a time. So my plan of making just a couple, turned into a quilt tops worth. And the more I made the more it felt less like a charity quilt and more like something that might be just right for my Nan. 

You see, my Nan turned 90 in April and we were having a big family do for her. Ashley and I flew down to Melbourne for the weekend, and one set of uncles and aunties flew over from Perth, so you see, it was a big deal. And while Nan had said no presents, no one can turn down a handmade something something... And when she recently moved into the nursing home, she had decorated her room in pink, orange and purple...

This is my Nan at her party. Isn't she the cutest!
One of my cousins decided she needed a birthday bear. That's the kind of Nan she is <3

Anyway, back to the story.

Well, knowing that Nan's room was orange and purple made me feel like my subconscious must have had a plan all along, and that this quilt was destined for her.

I just needed to get the blocks all made, sashed together somehow, bound and quilted before the party in 3 weeks time.  And ya'll know how slow I am as a quilter, right? Ok, so ambitious.

But the blocks got done, and I decided to sash with purple (don't ask me why, I was originally going with grey, but the purple spoke to me). The only photo of the top by itself is this one...

The difference between the quilt before its sashed and after with the addition of the purple, really is striking to me. It's like a completely different quilt!

Next up I needed to get it quilted and bound. I admit I tried to convince my friends and acquaintances with long arm machines to quilt it, but time was a serious factor by this stage. You see, I finished the top on Sunday, and we flew to Melbourne on Thursday...

I tried to machine quilt it myself, but it was a disaster. I had puckers the size of the Grand Canyon. It was terrible. So I spent an entire night ripping out what I had done. But now I was a day down, and had nothing to show for it!

In a blind panic, I did the binding (in a purple satin, so it'll be comforting to rub your fingers against), and figured I'd work out the quilting next.

(Surprisingly this did not turn out as badly as it had the potential to do. The problem was, my new quilting plan was hand stitching, which I could do while we were traveling, but I couldn't do the binding without my machine. So I ran the risk, and it luckily paid off. Not something I'd do unless I really had to though.)

Once the binding was on, I got my handy purple perle and got my sew on.

I went really simple with a cross inside a square in what would be the cornerstone of each block. It was actually a perfect way to spend the first day of our weekend away. Melbourne being Melbourne meant we had a fireplace, so I quite happily sat and stitched beside the fire.

The last stitches went in right as we were due to leave for the birthday party, so I grabbed an off cut of the backing and used that to wrap the quilt.
I think it looked pretty cute.

We dashed to the party and made a fantastic entrance (being that we were 35 minutes late - bad granddaughter) gave Nan a big kiss and her quilt and then enjoyed an afternoon chatting with my cousins.

The quilt itself, feels a little modern for Nan. Once it was done, I realised that she probably would have liked something a bit more traditional, but still, she knows it was made for her with love and that's the important part.

So this is now officially the fastest quilt I've ever made. A total of less than 4 weeks, from conception to delivery. 

And it's all thanks to the Brisbane MQG, for hosting an improv scrap sew day.  So thanks BrisMQG! You're the bestest!

E xx

Unfortunately, since her birthday, Nan got a bit unwell, but my Aunty sent me this photo of Nan, with her quilt at the hospital.

While I am sad that Nan wasn't well, I'm glad that she is using her quilt. And she is back home now and feeling better.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Who's got a quilt guild? I do!!


Are you having a fabulous day?? I am!! 

And why is my day fabulous? Well because i spent it with the girls from the Brisbane Modern Quilt Guild!

Have I mentioned the fantabulous BrisMQG? No? I haven't? (I know I haven't...) Well, you are looking at a founding member and the current President of the Brisbane Modern Quilt Guild.  The newsest and coolest of all the MQG's.

As dear friends I will allow you to address me as Ms President.

It initially started with only half a dozen of us, but we're growing every month. We actually ran out of places to put sewing machines at one of our meetings!  We've now been going for almost a year and while it has been challenging, it has been amazing.

If you want to check it out - say for example, if you live somewhere in South East Queensland and want to do some quilting - you should go to the Facebook page and join in with us!! We are fabulous fun :-) Even if I do say so myself!

But this fabulous fun has come at a cost.  I have been neglecting my blog.  I love this little corner of the internet that I call home and I have missed being here.  I have also been very neglectful in reading all my favourite blogs... I just ran out of time.  And then I felt like I needed to read all the posts I missed and I just couldn't catch up :-/

But don't worry.  It's not just you who have been neglected.  It's also my husband and my puppy who are missing out on Erin time.

Don't go quilting Mum - stay home and love me!!!

But I am determined to make more of an effort.  What that means though, is that I am going to do something I promised myself I would not do... I am going to use my phone photos for the blog.  I promised myself that I would always have fabulous high res photos here, but I just don't have the time to load them from my camera to the computer! I know that is the lamest excuse in the history of the world, but hopefully, if I give myself this little leaway now, I can keep up my blog, and maybe one day, when I'm no longer on every committee known to mankind I can resume the pretty photos.

Thanks for being so understanding.

E xx

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Swoon on Display

So you all saw me making my Swoon (which, yes, took me forever), but what you might not know (because I haven't told you) is that the Swoon is finished!

I started this project at the very beginning of 2013 and what was supposed to be a fairly simple, fairly quick simple patchwork quilt, ended up taking me forever - I mean literally years.  To be fair to myself, I had some random health issues in there, but mostly it was just a combination of busy and lazy. I don't call myself the Lazy Quilter for nothing, you hear me!

Welł, once the top was done, I handed it over to one of the amazing ladies in my guild, Jane Davidson, and she popped it on her long arm and went to town. It has this beautiful all over swirly thing going on, which I just love.

It then came home to me, where it sat for several months while I thought about binding and then waiting for my fabric choice to arrive. And then I had a deadline! You see our Guild was doing a display for the Stitches and Craft Fair and I needed something to show for myself, so I frantically finished the binding - and look! A finished quilt! 

I'm just a little proud of myself.

Here she is at the Fair.

(PS so prouxd of it there with its big sign!)

And seeing as how I had already done a hanging sleeve, I submitted it as an entry for the Modern Quilt display at the Australasian Quilt Convention. And guess what? It got picked! So I packed it off to Melbourne to be shown off and flew down just to stare at it in person.

I was so ridiculously proud I literally jumped up and down when I saw it hanging there. Here I am, with my quilt at AQC.

And now that my quilt is home again, it is time for it to go on my bed... Except that I may have entered it in Australia's Modern Quilt Show, hosted by the Woolongong Modern Quilt Guild, so it actually has to head down there this week ... And then I'm waiting to hear back if it's been accepted to the Brisbane Exhibition... Maybe it can go on our bed next year :-)

E xx

Friday, 19 September 2014

While it may appear that I fell off the earth...

... I didn't. I'm still here. Just incredibly, ridiculously busy.

I haven't had time to scratch myself, barely had time to shower and what little time I can scrape together (by skipping doing laundry and wearing all my trousers twice... Three times) I have attacked my sewing table in the hopes of trying to get my bloody Harry Potter quilt finished.

And it's almost there! I swear I am so darn close I could almost cry. I am absolutely loving the process of making this, and it has been the most fantastic challenge, however it has taken up my entire sewing room for almost an entire year. I cannot wait to put all the random bits of material in their respective scrap jars and have a clean table. Even if it's only for 15 minutes until I pull out the next project :-)

So I beg your indulgence just a little longer. I am, maybe, another couple of hours away from a finished top. I have given myself until Saturday to finish so I can clean over the weekend (excitement of my life, lol). I promise to take lots of photos and ramble properly about the process of making him.


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Improv Progress

Months and months ago, I started working on an improv quilt. I worked on it a bit at the start of 2013, but then put it aside while I dealt with things that had deadlines (that I didn't meet) and life got busy and I tucked this into a box and set it to the left. I didn't forget about it, but it was so low on the priority list, it didn't really get touched.

I think the last time I posted a photo of this baby I'd only done three blocks... I'm definitely further along than that now! In fact, I've finished the quilt top!
It's quite simple really. No fancy pattern or "design". But I started it when I needed something that was completely random in construction and this fit the bill. I don't know what my quilt style is, so I don't know how this will fit into the bigger picture of my quilt story, but I know that experimenting with this has given me confidence to do the improv peicing on my sewing machine cover and my Carpenters Wheel. So I definitely feel I am an improv girl. Or at least improv is a significant component of my quilting personality.

Some places are more random/improv than others.  Sometime I did strips and then hacked it into random shapes cut it up neatly into perfectly use able pieces... :-/

Other places I purposely cut crooked or in an odd shape to make myself

I also made sure to keep any bits I did cut off and used those as the start of the next block.

All in all, it's about single bed size.  I'm planning to keep it in my study for those quiet reading times... At least this was the plan until I started Harry Potter and now he belongs near the books...  Maybe I need to finish some quilts and work out if there are any empty surfaces left in my house :-/ It might just have to be carried around for those moments when you need nothing but a cuddle and a cup of tea :-)

The star component of this quilt is this lovely text fabric.  I have no idea who made it, or what brand printed it, but I feel really... blessed every time I take the time to actually look at the words. All the sayings are about letting your light shine because the world needs it, and finding harmony and balance. I don't know. Maybe that's my inner hippy coming out, but I love it :-) there are moments when it's nice to be reminded of the good things.  I had planned just to checker board it, but as I got towards the end of making my improv block I realised I had a little extra so I did a few fussy cuts to get some of the really special pieces a bit more centre stage.

And my Handstitched training is coming through, because I'm seriously considering embroidering some of the words/phrases on the fabric. I won't do it until I've had a chance to think about how I want to quilt it, because then I'll have a better idea of what it looks like and whether that will work. I have made an effort to space the words out so that the phrases are readable. And I've tried to centre some of the phrases I like the most.

So I have a finished top for 2014.  And it is really the antidote for 2013, which was a very difficult year for me.  This quilt will just exist as something to make me feel good and have joy, and balance and all the other inspirational words this quilt is covered with :-). So this is goes towards my making for me project!

E xx