Saturday, August 31, 2013

Spring and Fractured QAL

Tomorrow is officially the first day of Spring here in New Zealand, according to the weather forecast today and tomorrow would be lovely fresh springlike days, for once they look as if they may be spot on! Today there is a blue sky and sunshine, birds were singing like crazy just on dawn and were trying to have me feed them about a half hour earlier than my usual time so their body clocks must be changing gear and thinking about getting into baby raising mode soon.

We did have one spring-like day during the week and I took a photo of the little cottage named Green Gables down in Howick, this is the base for the Howick Art Group and my husband and I are members, John is the painter. They are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday only and have two rooms with work displayed by members and each month there is an extra room given over to a solo exhibition. Three years ago I had a quilt exhibition there (bear in mind these rooms are only small)  which I really enjoyed, there is no room to hang a full size quilt but I had a number of very small pieces in addition to a couple of throws and table runners and I am booked to hold another one in February - slight panicky feeling - as I am not really organised so I'm really going to have get my skates on. I spent some time last night getting ideas together and working out how many pieces would look good in the small space. I could take my quilt ladder down which will help with the space problem. Hopefully I will also have a few felted pieces and probably two or three of my Silk series using the sari silk.

You can see it's a cute little place especially at this time of year with the daffodils in full bloom. It is more or less surrounded by immense oak trees which are just glorious whether in full leaf or showing their bare branches and in Autumn the pathway and outdoor exhibition area are covered in acorns, reminds me of primary school days tramping home from school scrunching through the dried Autumn leaves.

One piece from my exhibition last time was this schoolhouse wall hanging, this is a photo taken in the wrong position on a windy day! I had  a number of fat quarters of fabric from Fig Tree sitting on the shelf waiting to be used and they seemed just right for this one.

On my list of things to do, or rather for J to do is set up a good area outside for shots of quilts so if the good weather holds I might get lucky.

The quilt for our daughter is still a work in progress, a work yet to be started is the quilt for our youngest grandson and my progress with cutting for fabrics for the Fractured QAL is coming along.

Just finished cutting the strips yesterday - the greens and yellows on the left and the other strips, which I know I posted last time, below. Just starting to sort the darks out today and I'm finding that's the tricky bit deciding which fabrics I want to put in there! You can see I have used a lot of Kaffe Fassett/Philip Jacobs fabrics in there along with a few batiks so the question is whether I have sufficient darks in the range from the above mentioned designers. also pulled a large assortment of dyed fabrics which could be a possibility and there are some very dark batiks on my table so today will be spent as a play day. Another alternative is to not go too dark but medium dark - we'll see.

One week to go now to start date for  FQAL

Enjoy your weekend


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

One down and one to go!

As my post title says one down and one to go, referring to the two medical appointments for this week.
Saw the orthopaedic guy this morning and the issue is with the cartilage in my left knee - short story an arthroscopy is recommended to sort out the probable tear, trim away any raw edges and so on. Just a small surgical procedure he tells me in the day stay ward and I will walk out at the end of the day - not very far but I will walk!! All sounds so simple but with my complex medical issues it is far from simple, however I will now wait for further information re pre-op assessments and in the meantime I've been managing to stand for 20 minutes at a time to cut fabrics for the Fractured QAL mentioned in a previous post. 

With some of these fabrics I intend to use the reverse side, some playing around needs to be done over the next few days plus I have only cut the fabrics in the top photo, yet to attack the ones on the right hand side. Later in  the week it will be a case of hunting out suitable darks and cutting the strips and the start of next week matching lights  and darks together all ready for the start date of September 6th.  So looking forward to this project!                

The new Rowan book "Grandeur"  was due for release some time in September but I was having a look at the Glorious Color  site and they already had the book in early and autographed by Kaffe Fassett so this should be on its way to me within a few days, along with a fabric top up. My favourite fabric of all time I think is Brassica by Philip Jacobs and I ordered a little more of the gray and the green, I now see that there are two quilts in Grandeur using both those colorways - really nice!

Filling time in whilst waiting for my appointment this morning I took my favourite English magazine with me -  "Country Living"-  and they featured the most gorgeous old stone cottage set on the cliffs of the Lizard peninsula down in Cornwall, this is used as a bolt-hole by a young couple to spend their weekends, it had been faithfully restored using original flag stones for flooring and lots of other features and they had hunted down old pieces of furniture at second hand shops in the area, it looked so relaxing. Very basic, no mains facilities, they used candles for light and took their water with them and gas canisters for the stove. Just the sort of place I would love to hibernate in for a few days and quilt with no distractions although I could lose the water and gas carrying set up and I would need power for the sewing machine and iron!! This set me thinking and I remembered an old wooden cottage which had been for sale some time ago just about 10 minutes walk from our place, down the cliffs and right on the beach front, it was really run down but I thought at the time what a great place for a hideaway for a painter or quilter or any artist for that matter and John had taken photographs for me.

Here it is - and what a view to get the creative juices flowing. I can but dream!!

Ah well, back to reality and the laundry waiting to be dealt with, then more cutting fabrics. I also had a new die arrive yesterday - three sizes of strip on one die 1", 1 1/2" and 2" so I would like to have a play around with that.

Enjoy your week


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Busy week ahead and FQA

I have just realised what I have to pack into the week ahead!
 An appointment with an orthopaedic specialist to try and find out what the heck is going on with my left leg, a  hand therapy appointment, visit to the vet for Seamus and Daisy, have our grandson over for a morning, two other grandchildren after school on Thursday and in-between all this I will be gathering my fabrics together for the Fractured Quilt Along. Actually I have already started on the fabrics, happy with the lights all 56 of them and next week will take care of the darks.

We also have a busy weekend ahead, my husband celebrates his 70th birthday on Monday so this Saturday we are having a family and friends gathering at our place, tomorrow will be spent getting things together for Saturday.

Having a tidy up around my cutting table I found at the back  a brown bag which had fallen down and wedged behind a few curtain sample books, don't remember missing these fabrics!

 Some years ago I had a "thing" about blue and yellow florals and Hoffman had such a great range at that time so whenever I was in a quilt shop I would collect quarters. I had forgotten all about them,  I had seen a lovely nine patch quilt in a magazine using these florals and hd intended to make one, I really don't want to go down that track now so I think I'll just cut each quarter in half and keep those and cut into strings, cut the remaining piece in half again, put them into two packets and if anyone would like a packet just send me an email,  I am happy to pop them in an envelope and mail them to the States.

In my last post I was waiting for a Vireya rhododendron to open, the one with the huge buds,  at last is has and I love it!

Watch out for postings when we start on the Fractured Quilt Along!


Friday, August 16, 2013

Early Spring cleaning day

Sewn together half of the blocks in the quilt for my daughter, she asked me why I didn't have a go at quilting it myself, thought about it for a few days and decided to do that. I haven't attempted such a big quilt before, this will be around 80" by 100" so I will do quilt as you go by splitting the blocks in the quilt into two halves, quilting each half and put them together then add on the two narrow  borders and one wider border I can then easily go around and quilt those. That's the theory anyway so watch this space. 

The three fabrics I had ordered arrived two days ago from a range called "Savanna Safari" they looked to be quite a bright buttery yellow on the store site but  are a bit more subdued than I had thought and now I am trying to pull two or three fabrics to add a bit more colour. Not sure about these. I love the blue rings from Brandon Mably, it picks up on the green, tan and the soft purple in the fabric and the blue background gives it a lift but I think the Kaffe stripe could be a bit dull, the green with small dots is just OK - I'll leave them on the table and go back tomorrow, see what I think then.

It's raining with a vengeance here at the moment so guess the blossom on the cherry tree will be all over the grass by morning. It was looking lovely. There is a young vireya bush in the side border of the garden with absolutely huge buds, first time of flowering and for the past few days I have rushed out to see if they have opened, but nothing yet so hope like crazy that they haven't been damaged by the very heavy rain.

I took the photograph yesterday along with one of my waterlily camellia, I have one pink and this one

As the weather is atrocious it's an added incentive to go and shut myself in my room and get busy on the machine!

Have a happy weekend

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sunny sewing day

It's an absolutely glorious day here in Auckland, warm and sunny and an ideal day for getting busy in the garden. Also a great day for quilting, I have a machine on a table under the window and look out onto the camellia hedge it's a lovely spot to sit and sew.

I have 52 of the quarter log cabin blocks complete and another 28 to go! My display wall is just not large enough and I won't be able to fit the full quilt with sashing and borders on it, that will need to be photographed outside. As my sewing room is quite small I can't really stand far enough away to take a good shot, these blocks will all need trimming and re-arranging before sewing together but leaving them on the wall is an incentive for me to hurry up and finish the remaining blocks. I would like to do that this afternoon but I have two of our grandchildren coming after school and another little one is coming here while his Mum and Dad and baby brother go along to a funeral, not good for sewing. 

I had a walk around in the back garden earlier and took my camera with me, I see that one of my plants is flowering, can't remember what this one is but probably a member of the bromeliad family, if anyone recognises this please tell me the name

One of my favourite roses is still flowering

This one is Crepuscle a climber and one of my favourites, the blooms just glow when the sun hits 

We had a ride along the waterfront in the city on Sunday after visiting with family, we came home just before sunset and the shot below is looking back towards Auckland

Looking out over the Pacific, the island in the distance is Little Barrier.

Maybe I can just squeeze in a half hour of quilting time before the grandchildren arrive, I'll give it a try.
Have a good weekend

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Birds,Blooms and hint of Spring

We are now into Thursday here in NZ and have to say I haven't achieved much at all!!

I have found the backing for New York Blooms and my thread for the hand quilting on the blooms, I have machined in the ditch around the four blocks, pink narrow border and will do something maybe in the subway border.

Hoping to work on the blocks for my daughter, 30 quarter log cabins completed - 80 to go!
I am enjoying making this one but whether it will be finished and quilted before her birthday at the end of August is debatable, partly due to the fact that I am sewing with my left leg resting on a low stool due to a ?tear in the meniscus in my left knee, which is extremely, extremely painful. Crutches for walking so as to avoid weight bearing when possible, a bit of a nightmare to say the least.
I have lessened the problem slightly by ordering fabric for our youngest grandson a quilt and as the postage from eQuilter was the same whether I just ordered that or another 10 or so yards I decided to go with the extra batiks.  Retail therapy in action, now I have to hobble round trying to make room for them before they arrive here. Another incentive to buy was the fact that there was a special for half price postage so couldn't refuse that could I?

My next item on my to do list is to create another to do list putting all the projects in order of importance and urgency and hopefully progress will be made.

Been spending some time watching the birds busy feeding in the front garden and the first little primrose flowering - roll on Spring

I know I have posted photos of these little wax eyes before but they are "moreish" and just so friendly, as soon as I spike the fat for them they fly in out of the rose bush, not worried about me at all, you can see this cheeky chap posing for his photograph.

 Hopefully more progress on my projects to show next posting, happy quilting all, until next time