Wednesday, 23 September 2015

My family is growing

This week, we welcomed my new precious niece into the world.  Her name is Layla Jane and she is absolutely perfect.

Sam, Nadia & Layla
In my house we also welcome a new little brother.  No not a child. A new Brother Inovis NV610. We’re calling him Norman. Does it make me a bad aunty to confess that I am not sure which addition to the family I am more excited about or in love with?*

So the sad story is that about 3 weeks ago I was happy stitching away with my little bitty brother when he started making noises.  And not happy noises. But glugging, chugging noises. He was going sloooooow.  He was clearly working hard for every stitch.  I crossed my fingers that maybe he just needed some quiet time and turned him off for the night.  The next day, I turned him on and he couldn’t even do a single stitch.  The hand crank was refusing to turn.  I was ready to cry.

I took him to the local sewing shop, praying for a miracle. But no. my little brother was gone to his long home.

Silver lining – time for a new machine!!!!!!

Timing wise this was not great.  I had already made a deal with hubby that I could get a new machine in October (when the Craft and Quilt Fair is on, and I could hopefully get a good deal on a fancy pants machine) so we knew this cost was on the horizon, but right now :-/ We just had a month long overseas holiday (I’ll tell you all about that later!! It was amazing! But expensive…) Forking out for a new machine was not in this weeks budget.

I lasted a week without any machine.

I was miserable. I was depressed and sad and mopey.  I had hand sewing, but I’d just spent a month on holidays with no machine and I was sick of hand sewing!! I needed a sewing machine.

I hurried back to the LQS, and looked at their machines.  I was torn.  I wanted the super fancy ones, but I just couldn’t afford them… I asked about the Brother410 – maybe I could get this one in my price range, if I fluttered my eyelashes… They don’t have that in stock, but they could give me the 610 for the 410 price and it’s on sale right now…!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-O OKAY!!!!! I was already pushing my budget limits to buy the 410, but the 610 is even fancier and with the 410 sale price, I could just do it!!!  I’ve never been so excited in my life.  That’s a lie.  I was even more excited on Saturday when I picked it up.  The poor salesgirls thought I was a bit deranged.  I was giddy, I tells ya!

Ok, so slightly crazy in the eyes, but I was very, very excited :-D

Oh how I love my little Norman.  He is so quiet and fast (not as quiet or fast as the super doper machines but compared to my original machine it’s incredible).  It’s a struggle to go to work this week, because I just want to be at home and playing with him.  I am a little scared of him.  I haven’t worked out all the knobs and buttons, but I am learning all his idiosyncrasies. I am playing with the different stitch settings and trying to work out how to set it up for a proper ¼” seam.

I’ve made a little zippy pouch (as a play thing – to try different stitches and whatnot) and have pieced a simple quilt top.  Next up – a proper quilt top.  I haven’t picked which one yet, but there are lots of options to choose from.

So much excitement!!!!!! Love, love, love, love, love! Welcome to the family, Norman.  So glad to have you here.

*Note that I clearly love my niece the most.  Just so my big sis knows that I’m not really comparing her new daughter to my new sewing machine.**

**Quilters, you totes know what I mean right – Come on! New sewing machine! It’s totally comparable to a new baby. I will love it and feed it and take it for walks…

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.