Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Evolution of a Quilt

You may recall, a week ago I did a post about a rainbow of colour that I saw on my sewing room floor and the subsequent idea that popped into my brain for a new quilt. Seriously people - sometimes you just gotta go with the flow, and so last week that's what I did. 

How it looked on Sunday when inspiration struck 

On Monday I cut all those fabrics into strips.

Tuesday - More cutting of plain fabric and I started strip piecing 

Wednesday saw more strip piecing. At this point I was going a little strip piecing crazy.

Thursday -Cutting - lots of cutting

Friday-Had planned for this to be a bumper day but a run to Toys R Us, Spotlight and my parents for a visit, kind of put the kybosh on that. I got the 9 patches half done though before I ran out of mojo and took a nanna nap. 

Saturday - I finished sewing those 9 patches and heaved a sigh of relief because all the blocks were done. Counted them up and realised I'd actually miscounted and had 4 left to do. So I did them, then made the corner blocks and then pieced the border strips...

Sunday - pressing of 9 patches all done (one with a mistake which I have since unpicked and made right) so now I just have to find a space to lay them out and decide on a design. That seems all too hard at the moment ....my dogs have feet the size of dinner plates and at the moment they seem to be perpetually caked in mud . They also like tap dancing on my quilt layouts...

Stats for the week:
  • I was a lean mean piecing machine. 
  • My iron and I got jiggy with each other ( I think Mr. P suspects an affair!) 
  • I sewed 610 x 2.5 inch squares together 
  • I spent 10 hours sewing , cutting, and pressing ( when I was strip piecing it felt like a lot longer than 10 bloody hours let me tell you) 

I'm hoping for another productive week in between working and life however it's birthday season here at Maison Pyjamas - and we celebrated a HUGE one yesterday - Little P turned 5. In honour of this monumental event and since he isn't "little"anything anymore I've decided he deserves a new name for my blog. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to introduce the newly renamed-birthdayed-up  - Super E!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Life is Kinda Sad

I live in the 5th largest city in Australia but since we only have 1.2 million people here the larger cities often poke fun and laugh at us. We don't care (Sydney , Melbourne, Brisbane) because Adelaide is a lovely old city, full of beautiful architecture and it doesn't take us hours to get to work because of the traffic. Our house prices are still manageable too. For half a million you can still get something really nice. Suck on that.  Perth, you seem quite nice because you don't poke fun at us but I guess thats because you know that Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane don't really know where you are and if you start being vocal, their attention might turn to you instead. You kind of remind me of Switzerland without the snow or formal declaration of neutrality. 

One of the things about living in a smaller capital city is that we're always last on the list when it comes to getting the cool stuff. Case in point- Krispy Kreme. For YEARS the most oft seen hand luggage at Adelaide airport for inbound flights has been boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Yes- roughly every third person flying in from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane appears to bring back a box of delicious doughnutty goodness. 

That all changed yesterday when our very own Krispy Kreme opened at Croydon. People had actually been queuing since Sunday to get doughnuts on opening day (I'm not that insane). I was going to wait for the crowds to die down and get my doughnut fix in a week or so. 

But HAPPY DAY- Mr. P works on that side of town and last night he came home with the Most . Exciting. Present. Ever. 

Just check out all that sugary awesomeness ...I had already inhaled a cinnamon doughnut in one bite before I thought to take a picture. Priorities people ...priorities. The doughnuts won over the photo op. 

Mr. P went down in his lunch break, stood for two hours in a queue and brought back two boxes of Krispy Kremes. He gave one to the ladies in his office and brought one home for me. Sadly, mine is now almost empty because I had doughnuts for dinner last night. I have answered one of the great questions of life - it is possible to eat 9 doughnuts in one sitting. 

P.S. Naysayers - do not comment on this post - if you bag my Krispy Kreme addiction we simply cant be friends anymore. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Good Things

I put the last stitch in the binding of my Seville quilt yesterday afternoon. I'm not usually conceited about my quilts, in fact quite the reverse. I have so much to learn about quilting and techniques in general but I'm really proud of this quilt because it challenged me to try a lot of new things for the first time.

Among the firsts - I used freezer paper applique, and did free motion quilting. This was also the first time I've used Aurifil thread for quilting and I can honestly say I'm converted.  I've been labouring under a misconception that Aurifil was too pricey to use for all my quilting but I went and priced it and it's no dearer than the Gutterman I have favoured in the past.  This is not an ad for Aurifil I swear , I'm just so happy with the quality and results I got from their product.

I quilted in between all the peels and left the rest of the quilt unquilted - resulting in the peels really standing out with a puffy look. It turned out so much better than I had envisaged.  

Spotty binding finished it off. Originally I was going to do multi coloured binding but when I was rifling through my stash the spots started screaming "Pick me ! Pick ME!" Who am I to ignore the voices in my head? 

I used vintage chenille for the back. It's well documented that I adore chenille and it was perfect for this quilt. I'm keeping this quilt for myself and I spent last night snuggled under it. I used wool batting so it's warm and fluffy. 

All this colour just makes my heart sing. Bonus points for using mostly scraps for the applique peels! 

This is  my first finish from Katy's Finish Along list for this quarter, which leaves me at a loose end. I was faced with a choice between finishing my Holiday Happy Quilt, cutting fabric for my Moroccan Tile quilt, or deciding what to do with the remains of the gingham cushion cover. You can see the original list here.

I spent a lot of the day Facetime sewing with Little Miss Sunshine. I didn't sew ..I cut a rainbow of fabrics for my giveaway winner in between gossiping and holding a competition to see who could come up with the worst swear word for the day .(Little Miss Sunshine definitely won- because even Mr. P was shocked at one she let fly.) While I was cutting fabrics I was folding big bits and putting them back in boxes and chucking scraps in a pile on the floor. When I was finished I glanced over at the pile and this is what I saw...

How can I resist playing with these colours since an idea for a quilt just popped into my head the moment I saw them? So it looks like my next project is sorted - something simple and quick but hopefully very beautiful because along with the idea for the next project came a name of someone that I think will love getting this as a gift. 

Speaking of gifts - It was my Dad's birthday on Saturday. My parents BIG move happened a couple of weeks ago and they are (sort of ) settled into their new house. I am loving having my parents so close to us. Mr. P and I  headed up there for lunch and cake Saturday afternoon and then the whole family trooped out for dinner Saturday night as well. Judging by this photo some people never grow up. Happy Birthday Dad. 

PS.OK my Dad is not a complete freak. Little P was on the opposite side of the table and was massively excited at the cake and the sparklers and my Dad was totally hamming it up for him. And that pile of cream on the cake? Little P did the decorating. I think we can cross cake decorator off his list of future careers. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

FAL -Quarter 3 Wish List

I've been working my way through my WIP list this year. I think I've whinged about not starting anything new for so long that there isn't a person left in the whole of blogland that doesn't know that. I started the year with 9 unfinished quilt projects and I've managed to whittle it down to just two. I'm feeling very virtuous and organised but oh so bored with the same old, same old. But the finish line of wipdom is in sight so my list this quarter is going to be short and sweet. 

1.Seville Quilt 
This vision of gorgeousness didn't quite get finished last quarter so I'm putting it on the list for a Q3 finish. Easy enough to do since I'm half way through finishing the binding. It almost feels like cheating putting it down as a goal, but meh ...I'm doing it anyway. 

2.Holiday Happy Quilt
Does anyone even remember this quilt? I started it at least two years ago and it's been sitting waiting in a box to be finished ever since my initial excitement. I bought it as a kit because I wanted something I could use during the Christmas holidays and every traditional Christmas quilt I've ever attempted has turned into a hot mess. To be honest - I think I hate this too. Maybe I'm just a Grinch when it comes to Christmas? But finished it will be - and if I still hate it - I can donate it or give it away to someone.

3.Moroccan Tile Quilt
I've got as far as cutting the first block. That makes this an official project under Katy's rules. I'm really looking forward to working on this quilt - I fell in love when I saw the pattern for the first time and didn't think twice about buying it. Let's hope I keep loving it as I work through the pattern! Yes- I'm using an actual pattern which in itself is fraught with danger since they always seem to be written in Chinese. 

4. Cushion Cover
I rescued this from my parents garage sale a month ago. Originally it looked like this...

and now it looks like this (actually it looks cleaner than that - I washed it after I took the photo) 

 I have no idea what I'm going to do with it (applique peels,flowers,bunting  ..hell I don't know!)  but it's going to be a finish by the end of the quarter.

That's it - that's all I'm committing to until the end of September. But I have lots of ideas for other quilts germinating away in my brain and who knows - maybe I'll even manage to make a start on one or two others, that can appear on my FAL Q4 list. 

I started my Lucy Boston quilt last weekend but honestly I think that's going to be a long long long term project . Going by the length of time it took to finish my previous hand sewn projects  -I'm predicting Lucy Boston will appear on my list of 2016 finishes.

If you want to play along pop on over to the official FAL post at Katy's by hitting this link

Monday, July 07, 2014

Winner Winner!

Thank you to everyone who has stopped by and commented on my last two posts about my first grown up girl foray into the world of free motion quilting. I loved reading each and every comment. 

So using a totally scientific method of picking a winner for my giveaway , I added up the total number of comments on both posts and then chucked the final number into Truly Random Number Generator. 

Enter a number:



The winner was the 57th comment on both posts combined which was Kirsty who blogs over at Bonjour Quilts . Congratulations Kirsty . I'll be sending you an email soon. Haighs and some other goodies on the way to you my friend ! 

The Power of Positive Thinking

The biggest tragedies that occurred this weekend included sewing over my own finger ,(that hurt a lot and the F word did make an appearance briefly by popular demand) sewing my glove to my quilt twice (I'm probably lucky that my hands are small and my gloves are medium or I might have run over my finger with the needle more than once) and breaking a needle at which point I also used two rather rude words then that started with M and F. But even those blips couldn't sway me from my mission: to crack FM quilting, regardless of any obstacles the universe threw in my path. 

I  sat down at my machine, with no procrastinating, and no drinking (I really was kidding about drunk sewing), although I did stop at lunchtime today to inhale half a block of Haigh's Orange chocolate and I just kept telling myself over and over "You can do it!"

The power of positive thinking is amazing. And while the end result isn't perfect - its perfect enough for me and for a first attempt. I can only get better from here and it did wonders for my self confidence. I'm actually thrilled, because I finished the whole quilt.  I'm in the process of sewing the binding down to the back of the quilt and I'll show you the whole shebang when that's done but I couldn't wait to show you some snippets.   

One of the things that I think really helped was having a Bernina machine with BSR. I changed over from an old Janome machine to the Bernina last November and deliberately bought a machine with BSR . I'm fairly certain that was a massive help too. I just set it to foot free sewing so I only had to worry about what my hands were doing ( and still managed to run over my finger !)  I think I broke the "I cant FM quilt" hoodoo well and truly and I'll definitely try something else now that I know what the machine ( and I) are capable of. 

You can see Terri's weekend effort at her blog here. I'm so grateful to Terri for her support and for being my FM quilting buddy this weekend, and to all of you for your encouragement, tips and comments. I think you were all sending positive vibes out into the universe and that's what pushed me over the line. 

I'll be back to announce the winner of my giveaway tonight Australian Central Standard Time. Good Luck to everyone!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Putting On My Big Girl Panties

I was "talking" to Terri over at QuiltNCards via email a couple of weeks ago about free motion quilting and my almost pathological aversion to it. She confessed she suffers from a similar malady , and I chucked out the idea that we should provide each other with moral support by doing FM together. The logistics of this are intrinsically difficult since she lives in the Northern Hemisphere and I live at the bottom of the Southern Hemisphere but I'm all about solutions and solving problems. There is a way around just about everything if you think hard enough. 

A bit of background for you all: I tried FM once on a practice piece ably mentored by Kris who probably wanted to put her hands around my throat several times during the process and squeeze really hard. To her credit she was really patient considering how badly I sucked at it, and I kept telling myself I sucked at it, and in moments when I wasn't kicking my own arse  (why do I do that?) I vowed to practice, practice, and practice in the hope that one day I would be good enough to attempt a whole quilt. Since then, which was about three years ago, I've practiced once more and then gave it away as something I was probably never going to be able to do. There was probably swearing involved and possibly some tears. And over time I totally convinced myself I was a dumbarse at free motion quilting (and zips and the being a functional human being thing and a whole range of other things we don't need to speak about here) and just accepted that I was forever doomed to only quilt in straight lines or get other talented people to make my quilts pretty. 

A bit more email discussion ensued between Terri and myself and we decided to pick a day and give it a crack. That day is tomorrow! Im going to fortify myself with chocolate and courage (and probably vodka ) and do it on an actual quilt. 

This quilt ....because if I'm going to do this Im not going to muck around any longer. I'm going straight for gold. Because I'm actually not a dumbarse and I can do anything I set my mind to. 

To mark this auspicious occasion Terri and I are going to do a giveaway each. Leave a comment on either of our FM posts (this one, Terri's and the ones we're each planning to write after our joint sewing day with our hilarious results , assuming we are still alive)and you can go into the draw to win fabulous prizes. I still haven't worked out exactly what my prize is yet (but it will be fabulous) and I'm thinking it will include some lovely bright assorted fabrics so you can make your own orange peel quilt, or postage stamp quilt or whatever else you might fancy, and I'll chuck in some notions and other bits and pieces to round it out. There may also be chocolate involved. And we'll announce our winners on Sunday. 

I'm seriously contemplating taking video of my effort so I can educate you all with some new swear words. Wish me luck ! 

PS. In your comment feel free to leave your suggestions for  swear words I may not have heard yet , cocktails,  FM quilting tips or commiserations. 

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

FAL Quarter 2- Results !

We're at the end of the second quarter of the Finish Along hosted by Katy at The Littlest Thistle and it's time to 'fess up about whether or not I bit off more than I could chew again...

Having learnt my lesson last quarter, I made my goals a tad more realistic this time around and chucked in the possibility of a nudie run down the main street of Adelaide to motivate me to a finish on at least one of those projects. Adelaide breathed a collective sigh of relief when the last stitch was sunk into the Dresden quilt binding because it meant people didn't have to disinfect their eyeballs or seek therapy after having seen me running naked down Rundle Mall wearing only a feather boa. You can see the original post for my goals and threat here.

So without further ado or waffle here's the skinny on what went down at Maison Pyjamas in April, May and June. 

Project 1 - Dresden Quilt -DONE

Project 2 - Hexie Flower Garden Quilt -DONE

Project 3 - Stupid Triangles ! (now renamed The Craptastic Quilt) -DONE

I'm never touching triangles again .... 

Project 4 - Seville Quilt -FAIL

So close and nearly done but Katy informs me that nearly doesn't count unless I'm planning to use it unquilted with the basting pins still in it. (I once used a quilt for 18 months without any binding on it - so dont tempt me)  I was planning to take the easy road with this quilt and I started some echo quilting around the peels last week. But something somewhere in the back of my head told me I could do better than slightly curved lines for this quilt so I unpicked , and unpicked and then unpicked some more. Come back later this week to see what I'm planning for this quilt ...I'm equal parts elated and terrified and it could make for some very interesting reading. 

So Im sitting at 75 % success for the quarter, but Im happy those WIP's are disappearing off my sidebar list. Since the start of the year I've knocked 7 off there and only have two to go. One more finish and I swear I'm starting something new..or several somethings.