Please remember that any photos, images or text on this blog remain my property, but if you wish to use any that you see, feel free to contact me for permission. Thank you for respecting my request and enjoy your visit.......Joy

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Scatterdays - a fun activity to do

Recently one of the girls in Quilting Down Under group (Cinzia) suggested we have a bit of fun with our blogs and for those interested we have what she called 'Scatterdays'.  Every Saturday she will post a letter (from the alphabet) with 4 different categories (one which is related to Quilting).  Participants will have one week to find and photograph one item for each category and upload it to their blog.  The following Sat everyone will cruise around to check what has been found.

Then you start again for the following week.

It begins today!  Because it is close to Christmas we have 2 weeks to complete our first task.  Letter and categories have been sent - not sure if I can mention them here or have to wait till the unveiling of the photos in a fortnight's time.  Unfortunately, you are going to have to wait....a tad sad, but that's the game.

Over on the right side of the my blog is a list of the participants so if you wish when the postings are up you can check out the other photos.  This is going to be fun and a bit challenging.

I will name the postings 'Scatterdays 1/2/3 etc' - this will make it easier for you to find.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Are you a 'noreply' blogger?

I'm asking this question as I love to reply to you when you leave a comment on my blog.  Quite often when I hit the reply button it comes up as ''.  This means that I cannot send you a personal note to say thanks or make a further comment to you.

I always check your blog but if you haven't an email address I can't reply.  If you wish to remedy this you need to list your email address in your profile under the heading 'contact me', then at least I can send you a direct email.

Please don't think I'm being rude if I haven't acknowledged your comment - I just can't send a reply.

Thanks anyway for visiting and making a comment whoever and wherever you are.....


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Do you want more blogs to look at????

I've been a member of the on-line group 'Stashbusters' for some time now.  A great group of very friendly chatty quilters.  As the name suggests it is a group for those of us who want to work our stash instead of purchasing more and more fabric.  (Did I just intimate that I'm not buying any more fabric!!!!  I don't think so.)  But the suggestions, patterns and eye candy galore help one in using what one's got.  They also have a blog where anyone who is a member who has a blog, can have their blog listed.  So, I've now included in the side-bar on the right a link to this blog or if you like you can click here and it will take you right to it.

I warn you, you could be there for a loooooong time.  The blogs are listed in order of the last posting with the latest one on the top.  Consequently if you go back the list will be different each time.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Patriots in Petticoats update

Remember back in July I posted about my civil war quilt Patriots In Petticoats that I had started at a retreat. Well I have now completed the final four blocks and the central medallion block.

This is the central block - Martha Washington's - measures 24x24"

The final four blocks

One of the log cabin blocks that form part of the borders

Hopefully over the weekend I will get them all together.

Take care,

Friday, November 2, 2012

Another finish and some more bits & pieces

Another long term UFO is finished!  The pattern for this quilt was originally bought as a BOM (pattern and buttons only) - I didn't particularly like the materials that were included in the full kit and also I wasn't keen on the setting and I wanted to use some of my stash.

The blocks are all different sizes and are embroidered.  I lightly coloured parts of each block to give the overall effect I wanted to achieve - I used Derwent Water Pencils that my son had used for school (15 years ago) which I found when doing a clean out!

After quilting the buttons were then added.

Here is a close-up of some of the beautiful buttons.

 My Monday night group Regent St Stitchers are having a 'Birthday Block' activity, this year we are starting with November.  We all make the same block, but with the colours for the recipient for the particular month.  Unfortunately, mine is not until July next year, but these four below are for the November and a couple of December birthdays. We get to choose a light and a dark - when my time comes I have chosen white-on-white and for the dark different reds.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

More Spring colour

Lots more colour in my garden.  As you can see I mulch with whatever I sweep up from the paths and rake up from under the gum trees.  I also use the trimmings from any bushes I cut, and the odd log or two.

In a couple of weeks my bottle brushes will be in flower - they have heaps on buds on them now.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

He wanted squares.......

He got squares, sort of.....

Some time ago when talking to DS3 Warwick, he asked if he could have another quilt.  The first one which was a Marti Michell sampler in strong country colours, unfortunately/fortunately went with his ex wife when the marriage was dissolved.  At first I was a little bit miffed, but on the other hand she always liked the quilt and I know it will be looked after.

This one Waz said could it be just 'plain blue and squares'.  Well, how does a quilter make something plain and just squares without looking dull and 'plain'?  After giving this a lot of thought I searched through my stash and found a variety of blues with a fair amount of white quilters muslin.  I told him it would have to be a variety of blues and to look and choose which ones he would like me to use.  There were some beautiful aqua's and violet, but they got tossed!!!  Just plain blue please Mum and not small itty bitty bits.........or that fancy stitching.....

OK.  Thinking cap on - what if I did 9 patch (3" blocks) using the navy blue as the centre blocks and a medium blue in the middle of the outside blocks with the remaining blues alternating with the white on the corners.  Looked good after a trial couple of blocks.  BUT when I had made all the blocks, they just didn't go together when on my design wall.  I should have alternated the white in the middle blocks, but I wasn't going to unpick.  Then a light went off - as they were quite large blocks 9" square - what if again??? I sliced them and turned them into a disappearing 9 patch?  It worked - he still got his squares and plain blues, but I like the effect of how a disappearing 9-patch turned out with a minimum number of colours and those being plain.

There's movement together with a symmetry of a pattern and not just blocks in a row.

I used a varigated blue/grey/white thread to quilt with and cross-hatched through the blocks.

Outcome - he loves it. 

Moral - don't ask a quilter to make something 'plain', it can't be done.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Amazing what a little bit of sun can do

especially after the rain.  Remember in a previous post I was a tad excited that Spring was coming.  After that posting we had some more light rain and in between beautiful sunny days.  Now look at my garden.
 Colour popping out of every little corner.  Ah Spring, love it, but not the pollen!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Two beautiful books

Last week I went to the Wyndham Quilters (in Werribee, Vic) Quilt-In.  A great day with friends Jenni, Judy, Wendy.  Corliss Searcy from Threadbear in Castlemaine was the speaker and she bought along some of her fabulous antique quilts from her family's collection.  Such eye candy, unfortunately my camera wasn't working very well and the photos didn't come out.

Corliss also had her 'shop' there and of course I had to explore!  I purchased these two absolutely fabulous books -

This first one 'A Schoolgirl's Work' is a collection of embroidery samplers worked by (of course) school girls spanning the years from 1710 to 1841 and the girls' ages are from 7 - 19 years.  A stunning book if you like antique stitcheries and samplers, together with a little bit of history about the girls.

The second book 'When the Cold Wind Blows' is a collection of beautiful applique quilts.  The authors show two variations of each quilt.
Both of these books were written and produced by Barb Adams and Alma Allen of Blackbird Designs and are beautifully presented and printed.  Wonderful treasures to have in one's library.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Slowly, but getting there

Well, as you can see I'm slowly getting the blog back to normal.  It is a slow process as I need to look at each post and fix one at a time.  The longest part of the process is searching and finding the correct photo.  Unfortunately in some cases a few photos were downloaded directly from my camera and I have no way of retrieving these photos. 

I was told about a great free site - 'Recuva' to download - this program searches your hard drive for any files/photos that you have deleted.  It searches all drives on your computer and it can take a while for this to happen - but oh boy! it recovers any file/photo/site that you may have looked at (even those that you hadn't actually saved).  When finished searching it came up with over 7,000 images, and I didn't click on ALL, just images.  Imagine if I clicked 'all' that would mean each and every file/site/page etc I have looked at since I've had the computer!!!!!  A tad scary.  At the time it got me thinking - this is a free download, what do the authorities (ie police etc) have to use when checking a criminal's or suspect's computer!!  Nowhere to hide these days.

Hopefully by the end of the week I will have recovered most of my pictures - those that I can't, I will edit the posting to reflect no available photo, or delete altogether.

Then I can get back to posting in the proper manner. Till then, take care and enjoy life.

Joy V

Friday, September 7, 2012

Not Happy Jan!!!

Have just received an email telling me that unfortunately, my photos can't be retrieved.  Not happy!!!

Apparently, when using Picasa to store one's photos, if you do a clean-up like I did recently and deleted some photos that I thought I wouldn't need any more, because (a) they weren't relevant; and (b) I had them on my blog anyway.  Well, deleting them from Picasa also deletes them from your blog!!!  I have just sent a rather 'not-so-nice' email back to say there is no warning about this on either Picasa or Blogger and I just may consider changing my blog across to WordPress or taking out a domain name myself. 

Another thing I found out was that with the new smart phones - if you have them integrated with your computer, ie a gmail address etc; then all your photos on your blog can appear on your phone.  This also happened to me and as they took up a lot of space on my phone, I deleted these also, about the same time as the clean-up.  A big NO. NO.  This will also delete them from your applications, such as your blog etc. That is two ways you can have a problem with your blog, AND again no warnings.

The upshot of all of this, is that I now have to go and delete all those nasty black blobs on my blog and try and find the photos and repost them.  Unfortunately some can't be replaced, but luckily the latest postings I can retrieve as I have them backed-up on an external drive.  This is going to be a loooooong saga, but hopefully by doing a few each day it wont be too long.  There will be some very old posts that wont have photos anymore, but unfortunately I will just have to edit them and take out any reference to a photo.

Time to have a glass of red and chill out a bit I think before I tackle this rather large undertaking.

Be aware dear readers, what you delete from your computer....

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What a disaster!!!!

As you have noticed if reading my blog, yesterday something disastrous happened - ALL my photos have disappeared and been replaced with that horrible black thingy-ma--jig!  I have sent an urgent message to Blogger to find out how to reinstate them.  Not sure how long it will take for them to look at it and advise me what to do.  Just hope there is something that can be done.

Please be patient while I try and get this fixed.  I'm trying not to tear my hair out in the meantime!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

New Block of the Week

Barbara Brackman has done it again!  Another Block of the Week has started - on 1 September 2012 and will go for 49 weeks.

How many of you followed her Civil War BOW?  I did, but unfortunately didn't keep up with making the blocks although I have saved them all on the computer!  Another 'to do' quilt on my never ending list.

This BOW she has called 'Grandmother's Choice' and will be relating stories of the Suffragettes and Women's Rights in those early years.  Barbara has started another blog for you to follow and get the patterns.  I have put it in my Blog List on the right or you can click on any of the links in this posting.  This is one project I really really want to do.  I feel very strongly about the rights of women and the abuse some suffer in other countries (and here in the 'civilised' society as well - mostly within their family units).

Not sure how I want to make this one.  Do I use the colours of the Suffragette movement, purple (for dignity), green (for hope) and white (purity);  (if I can find enough reproduction fabrics in these colours, it might be the way to go).  I have always wanted to make a red and white quilt, (which by the way was the English women's colours);  will I chose this option?  Australia's Women's Right Movement chose the colours green, gold and white - another good option.  I could just go with scrappy and use my civil war and reproduction fabrics that I have.  But to honour these women I feel I should use their colours.

Decisions, decisions.  Which way would you go?  When I have made my decision I will let you know.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Spring is coming....

How do I know?  Instead of green, green, green, some colour is starting to showing in my garden. 

My Fresias are up but still green. 

Not a lot of colour yet, but this is a start.

Monday, August 20, 2012

After 12 years a labour of love is finished!!

It is 12 years since I first started my hexagon quilt - Nell's Garden.  Finally it is finished and on my bed!
Nell's Garden
 I've called it 'Nell's Garden' in memory of a dear Aunt who taught me to sew, knit and embroider when I was a little girl.  She loved her garden and she also loved making hexagons.  Auntie Nell had them all over her house - even the curtains in her spare bedroom were made from hexagons!  Most special of all I was allowed to take the papers out!!  How good was that?  When she knew her time was coming she gave me her cardboard shapes - a whole shoe box full - my uncle who worked for a Greeting Card company had them specifically cut on the guillotines at work using some of the excess greeting card paper.  They measure 7/8", not sure why they are this size.

When I started to cut out the material I chose to fussy cut the centres of the flowers to represent something that is found outside or in the garden.  You can see from the following two pictures some of the centres.

 For the border I chose a brick red to 'fence' her garden and make it safe for all the kids who used to play there.  You can also see that I quilted (by hand) around each hexagon.  That is why it has taken so long to finish.

It truly was a labour of love.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Have you heard about

'Quilt @ Winter School'?  The wonderful Glenys who organises Fibre Arts in Ballarat each year and other week long fibre arts retreats/schools has put together a fabulous 'Quilt @ the Winter School' for next year - 2013.  There is a great selection of tutors AND the best thing is you work with the one tutor for the week, so you can complete your project, not take it home half-done and then put it away for another day.  How many times have you done that and then forgotten about it?

Plus, there is NO cooking or housework for a whole week (5 days).  To find out more click here or above - the link will take you to her website and all the information is there.  While there have a peek at some of the other schools she has organised - there is even one in Darwin!

In case any of you are interested(?) I have booked into the class with Carolyn Sharkey.  So I'm on the hunt for some fabulous photos and images that I can work with.  I will post some pics when I have the photos.

Please go and have a look at Glenys' site and really really think about joining the rest of us.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A relaxing week at Hall's Gap

A fortnight ago I spent 5 days relaxing, sewing and chatting (not in that order) at a retreat in Hall's Gap, in the Grampian Ranges north of Melbourne.  There were 14 of us altogether. 

Most of us only get together once a year for this special time as we come from all over Victoria and Mt. Gambier in Sth Australia.  It's a fabulous time and the Retreat where we stay backs onto the National Park, and we get a lot of wildlife coming around - this inquisitive Roo thought he was going to join us for morning tea!!!!

I was very pleased with myself as I was able to complete 12 blocks of the pattern 'Patriots in Petticoats', a pattern from Common Threads Quilting.  I adore this pattern as the setting is very different from a lot of other reproduction quilt patterns.

There are 16 blocks of this size (12") plus a larger one in the middle and a border of log cabins set in a ribbon pattern.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cheeky Monkey is growing!!!

The cheeky little man is growing!!  He is now 8 weeks old.  Already a junior member of the Kangaroos (for those who aren't in Australia - that is an Australian Rules Football Team here in Melbourne.  Cute as......Proud Nanna talking here......

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mystery is solved!!!

In my last post I related the story of the upcoming Retreat and the Angel/Mortal swap that was happening.   Well, I can now tell you who my Angel was - Christine from Qld.  She was even further devious with one of the gifts at the retreat - when I was arriving to dinner on the first night she had the girls at the desk hand it to me!  The only clue there was that I knew she had to be in the room - among 60+ others.  A really lovely person and I hope we keep in touch.

Townsville is a beautiful place in far north Qld.  Retreat venue was fabulous and the staff very attentive and friendly.  This is a view from my room overlooking the river (around the corner from the main beach).

 And this is what we saw when we went to Magnetic Island for dinner on Saturday night - a supurb sunset overlooking Horseshoe Bay.  Just look at those colours, I took this photo with the camera in my phone, (and while on the bus) so not quite as good as the real thing, but still beautiful.

I will have more to tell you about the retreat as soon as I get myself back into gear and into the real world!!  Oh how I wish I was back there, relaxing in the sun, instead of rugged up in my winter woolies with 0c degrees the last 2 nights.  brrrr.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Who likes a mystery?

I do.  Love reading mystery novels and participating in mystery quilts etc.  But at the moment I have the biggest mystery of all to solve.  Scquilters, which is an on-line group of Aussie quilters have an annual retreat and part of the activities is an Angel/Mortal swap.  This involves being an 'Angel' to another Scquilter and then being someone else's 'Mortal'.  All very secret and devious!  You send a parcel each month for 3 months before the Retreat (this year at the end of June) and then having 3 more to be given out at the retreat.  You also have a special parcel to give to your 'Angel' as a thank you.

Apart from trying very hard to not reveal yourself before the 'Big Reveal' at retreat, like posting from a different PO than near where you live, to using various friend to post for you etc etc and using a 'non de plume' email address, the lengths that some go to are extrordinary.

Well, so far the parcels I have received have come from 3 different addresses in the USA!!!  How did my Angel do this?  Was she away when posting, then if so, she must have been away for 3 months!  Does she know someone who lives over there - but then she would have had to send them over first, and then have them sent back!  Not only are the return addresses from different people - they are also from different States.  This has me truly baffled.

Any help to solve this or do I have to wait another 4 weeks for the reveal at Retreat?  The retreat this year is in Townsville, north Queensland, a lot warmer at the moment than down here in Victoria.

Will keep you informed as to any more clues etc..

Friday, May 25, 2012

Blogger's Directory

Have you got your blog listed on Michelle's Quilting Blogs Directory?  If not, it is easy, just go here., and follow the prompts.  Michelle has a great resource site for links for just about anything you want to know about blogging and blogs of interest.  If the above link doesn't work, click on the label in the right hand column, have a look around while you're there and join up.  It's free!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Guild Quilt-In

Spent a lovely couple of hours on Saturday at my Guild's Annual Quilt-In.  This is me with Rose on my left.

Geelong Patchwork and Quilting Guild, like most guilds in Australia host an annual Quilt-In where invitations are sent out for others to join in our fun.  It is a fun day, plenty of tea and coffee and lovely things to eat.  Usually a couple of our local quilting shops have stalls selling all the stuff us quilters just love.

We had a great speaker - Linda Steele, who talked and showed us her quilting journey and lots of her lovely award winning quilts. You can visit Linda's blog here to see some of her work.  While you're looking around the net you can also visit Geelong Guild's blog here and read about what we do and also have a look at the link and read our Monthly Newsletter.

The 'mess' in front of me is my hand sewing for the day - I was piecing some more Candied Hexagons.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why I haven't been here......

is because of this darling little fellow.  My new grandson, Fraser Jeffrey Vale born on 3rd May 2012 at 2.52 am.  I have been in Melbourne looking after big sister Jorja Pearl, who thinks 'he is the cutest baby Nanna'.  Of course I'm not a bit biased!!! 
Mum, Dad, big sister Jorja and Fraser - 1 day old

Fraser on Nanna's quilt - first day home from hospital

I managed to sew some more Candied Hexagons while there - at night after Jorja went to bed and a bit more while she was at school.  I have also finished sewing the binding on my Orca quilt.

Hope all is well with your families - I just looooove being a Nanna.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

More Candied Hexies & look at what else I've been doing

As promised, here are the next lot of Candied Hexagons I have completed.   Slowly getting them sewn while at my local quilt group meetings (amongst lots of talking etc).

Thought I would show you this Journal/Diary cover I made recently.  It actually started off as a brown paper bag, which  I acquired on my first trip to the US in 2009 when I purchased some fabric from a shop in Bird In Hand in Pennsylvania.  I later did an on-line course in Mixed Media and one of the lessons was on turning brown paper into faux leather.  Just love the look of it.  Was easy to do, a little fiddly though and you have to be careful not to tear the paper before it becomes strong enough to sew through.  I lined it and made it into a cover for my diary. 
One option was to construct a bag, but I didn't have enough of this printed bag, but I think that would be very cool, especially if you have an interesting piece of paper to work with.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The beauty of nature

Recently we have had some rain here on the coast and this has made our grass turn from brown to green - yes, in the hot summer months we grow brown grass.  After some good rain the new grass is green and very much sort after by the local wildlife.

These beauties here are King Parrots - very similar to the Rosella, but larger and brighter red.  The ones with the green heads are the females.  What you see in the background is from the kangaroos that visit at night!!

Even though they are wild they are also very tame when it comes to humans and as you can see Warwick (DS3) is feeding them some native seeds and they are literally eating out of his hand, in fact one is actually standing on his arm.

(my apologies - these are two photos that were deleted - I still haven't found a copy of them)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Candy anyone???

Today I received a reminder from a reader that I haven't posted any more of my Candied Hexagons.  She emailed me with some questions on the templates used to make these tasty morsels.  In the recent hot days we had here in Victoria I cut out a box full of shapes and templates - it was too hot for actual sewing - my hands were very hot and sticky.
Anyway, what you see here are some that I have been sewing while at my local quilting group.  Hope to get some more done this weekend and over the following week.


Friday, March 9, 2012

For lovers of all things vintage.

For readers who love all things vintage - I have just discovered this great site and blog.  The site is called 'The Vintage Workshop' and the owner Amy Barickman has a plethora of stuff including vintage images that you can downbload (for a small fee).  If you have a few minutes to spare go on over and a look around.  I'm sure you'll love what you see.  I do.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm soooooo excited - I've won a give-away

over on Linda Stoke's blog.  If you go here you will see the piece of fabulous material she is giving away among other goodies including a small Thermofax screen.  How good is this????  And while you're there have a look around her blog, it's full of inspirational stuff. 

Can't wait for it all to arrive.  Will post a pic when it does.  Love, just love giveaways....... as I have been lucky to win a couple might have to have one myself - need to think of a special occasion or event to celebrate.  Will put my thinking cap on - so stay tuned.

Have a great week all,
Take care,
Joy V

Friday, March 2, 2012

I can now show you Travis' quilt

As you can see Travis is a Bombers fan.  It is a wall hanging made with a variety of reds/red & black 9" squares.  There are a couple of 9 patch squares in there to add a bit of interest to a rather bland design.  The 'bomber' emblem I appliqued onto a piece of plain black fabric and did a close satin stitch around each element.  He loves it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What to do next???

The most thought about question for crafters and artists.  Everyone has a different way of answering it.  Some just dig in and make a quick selection, or know exactly what they intend to work on; others (myself included) often procrastinate - will I have a play?  Will I finish a UFO?  What if I did this? Some of you even work off a list.  What do you do?

After all the work involved in making the Orca Bay mystery quilt, I felt the need to have a breather. Relax and re-focus. 

Relax - did I - well a little!!  My sewing area was quite a mess with bits of red, black and neutral fabrics that  it was time for a clean up.  As I was working I started to think about my next project I suddenly remembered the quilt I had started making for my DS2 Travis.  It uses mainly reds and some blacks - the colours of his favourite football team - Essendon, known as the Bombers.  This has to be finished by 20th of this month.

Decision has been made.  Sorry but can't put up any photos until he has received it.  After 20th I will be able to.

That solved the immediate problem of working on my UFO's. But what about some hand sewing to take along to Guild and other meetings of like minds. I need a hand sewing project. Hmm. Thinking cap on.

I spied a bundle of brights that I had been keeping for a project called Candied Hexagons (the original was published in 2009 in the Australian Mag - Quilters Companion).  Unfortunately this edition has been out of print for some time, but you can access the templates and see the original in the link above or here. As the hexagons measure 2" on the side, it makes it the ideal project for a take-along - easy to do, but no teeny-tinie little bits that can get lost.  The idea of calling it a Candied Hexagon comes from slicing a boiled candy across the middle and seeing the beautiful patterns inside.

Take Care,
Joy V

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What if???.....A little experiment.

Not long ago I was wrapping a present with bright pink tissue paper and it was hot and my hands were a little damp - some of the dye from the tissue paper stained my fingers and a light bulb went off in my mind......What if......

I took out a small bundle of natural silk tops (undyed), put some water (only half cup) in a container and placed the threads in the water then put in a piece of the tissue paper (about a quarter of a sheet) - and voila - this is what happened within seconds.........beautiful pink silk threads.  My only wish is I had some more papers.  Will leave these for a few days and see if by ironing them with some Misty Fuse onto a backing they keep their colour.  I will let you know the result.

Don't you love the colour - you can see a small piece of the original tissue on the left and the threads next to it.  Think a trip to the $2 shops and see if I can pick up some more papers is on the cards to do.  Such quick and cheap way of dying.   No need to go down the mixing/stirring/measuring/wearing a mask way of dying little bits of stuff.  I will have to try it on some fabric next and after heat setting will see if the colour stays or runs.
(Again my apologies for the missing photos - when they are found I will replace them).

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Finished! Orca Bay all sewn up.

Here it is - Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay mystery quilt all finished.  Not sure if I will stay with the name, but will give it some serious thought. 
Just the top done at this stage - I need to get some backing and batting and will be taking it to a quilter from my Monday night group - Regent St Stitchers - to get it quilted.  At our Christmas meeting I won a voucher for machine quilting from one of the girls that belong to our group.

I decided not to make it as big as Bonnie did for the original.  It was way too big for where I want to use it, so I left off two rows on the side and two from along the bottom.  Hence I have a few blocks left over and think I will put them into a charity quilt - the colours and blocks will work well for a teenager's quilt - unfortunately they don't seem to get as many quilts as they do for babies and young kids.

I will definitely be making another of Bonnie's mysteries - really enjoyed it (although a sewing marathon); her chatter along with her instructions are very easy to read and understand, together with plenty of pics with each step.

Now to get back to my UFOs and other projects. Ho Hum....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Step 7 completed!!

The end is nigh!

Last night I completed Step 7 of Bonnie's Orca Mystery quilt.  You know all those black and neutral triangle groups I sewed in Step 6?   They are now all joined up to something else.  Two of them were sewn onto the red string triangles to make a flying geese block and one onto a larger neutral triangle.  No hint was given as to where they will be going in the quilt.
But this is the last of the major sewing exercises.
Not many large blocks, but as you can see from this photo there is actually only 5 different types of blocks that will make up this quilt.  Albeit piles of the things. 

-28  6" Ohio blocks with neutral backgrounds
-28  6" Ohio blocks with black backgrounds.
-128 red string triangles with black wings sewn into a flying geese block..
-100 neutral triangles sewn onto black wings.
-72  3.5" inch blue string blocks

That is one huge lot of cutting and sewing.  By the way I have already used 1 and 1/2 reels of 500m of thread (and I haven't sewn the blocks together yet, or put on a border!!!

This morning (while it is very hot in my part of Aus (34C - 92F) I decided to print off Part 8 and to place these blocks on my design wall - in Bonnie's order of course.  All pieces are sewn in rows - no more blocks are put together, BUT it looks fantastic!  A bit red, but there is so much movement and I can already see different patterns emerging.  AND I like my choice of using blue in the middle of the neutral Ohio stars instead of red!   One problem I'm having though - it is too big for my wall!

Sorry, I'm not going to show you until it's completed.  Have fun guessing what you think it might look like!!

Don't forget to come back and see it completed.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mystery Steps 5 & 6

Step 5 - Remember the 350 half-square triangles in Step 3 that were sewn into little aquares- well they come into play with Step 5.  I had to cut another 700 (yes 700) more black 1/2 square triangles and these are to be placed either side of those little blocks.  When joined they make these black and neutral slightly larger triangles:

Still no idea how these are going to be used (I hope I'm not adding any more little ones to them!!!) 

Step 6 - More fabric cutting - this time squares - 2-1/2" - 112 black and 112 neutral and for the red 56.  When I came to cut the red I realised I was running short and might not be able to get 56 out of what I had left unless I used 'red-looking' fabric, but I thought this would not work as some of those fabrics were slightly on the orange side.  Had a look at the blues used in the string squares earlier and had some of those, enough to do half. 

Reading the second page of this step I discovered that we would be joining these with the hour-glass blocks to make Ohio Stars - half with neutral backgrounds and half with black backgrounds.  I played with the blue and red squares and some of the hour-glass blocks and decided that the blue could go in the neutral blocks and the red in the black.  Here you see one of the neutral ones finished with a red one about to be sewn.  I'm happy with this.  I think it works.

At long last, starting to see some blocks coming together.....

On to Step 7 and 8 over the weekend - well maybe Sunday - have my Guild meeting tomorrow (Saturday).

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ok - now to Steps 3 & 4

After a short break over Christmas and the New Year AND emergency Nanna duties I am finally back home and have completed Steps and 4 of the mystery quilt - Orca.  This is Bonnie's name for the quilt - have still to make up mind what I will call it (could be 'my mojo gone mad').

Step 3 consisted of making 350 pairs (that's right 350) of half-square traingle units sewn to make a 2" finished square.  This is the pile after being 'dog-eared' and pressed (Bonnie likes you to trim them off...)  Oh well, definitely going to need new blades for my cutters when this is finished......

Step 4 was a tad easier cutting wise, but still a sewing marathon. 
At long last we are going to use our reds, but first we had to cut (that word again!!!) 64 x 5.5" foundation paper squares.  The sewing marathon - that is sewing our red strips or crumbs, onto these papers to make the string blocks.  When this stitching was completed, then trim the blocks back to the 5.5" and then slice in half.  My finished pile of string triangles:

This quilt is certainly an interesting mystery - haven't yet seen any hint of where all these gazzilion piles are going.
But onward we go - focus on completing all instructions and I will have a beautiful quilt.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Focus. Focus. Focus.

Already I fee the need to evaluate my day and FOCUS.  I chose that word for my mantra for this year and now I want it to work for me.  Oh my, if I can't focus now what am I going to be like at the end of the year????

Early last year I decided to get my stash in some sort of order, especially my offcuts (scraps) as they were multiplying at a rapid rate.  My larger pieces are sort of OK - they are all in a cupboard relatively safe, but these other little beauties were getting out of control.  I have always followed Bonnie Hunter's blog and site - Quiltville - there is a link in the right hand side bar and also here and decided to loosely follow her way of organising these wayward bits and pieces.

I purchased a set of 3 large tubs that stack on top of one another like a mini filing cabinet.  You can access each one without having to take the top one down.  THEN I set to work and did the sorting and cutting and actually filled them - one with dark strips/strings; one with light; and the other with specifically cut 2.5" strips.  I filled 4 smaller tubs with other strips and squares.  They fit nicely in the space between the cupboard and the shelving where my TV and other stuff are located.

Now for the focus part of this epistle - When Bonnie announced  her new Mystery Quilt - a light in my brain went off - I can do it - I have now got my scrap bins sorted.  Downloaded Step 1 - sorted my colours, (I decided to use the same as Bonnie suggested) cut into the black and neutral strips - 1.5" wide; got out my rotary cutter to start cutting - woo - 'cut 448 pairs of neutral & black quarter square triangles' - that's right 448 pairs, ie 448 neutral AND 448 black!

Ok, I tell myself, this is Step 1, let's get it over with - the going will be easier after this!!  Once cut they are then sewn in pairs (Bonnie then says to TRIM THE DOG EARS - on 448 pairs......)   They are then joined to make 224 hour glass units.  This is them before the trimming...

On to Step 2 - We are now going to sew strings - easy peasy.....  BUT we need to sew 72 x 3.5" foundation squares!  The 3.5" squares, ironed and trimmed.
This quilt better be worth it in the end......

Of course before I was able to get on with Step 3 etc - along came Christmas and New Year.  This is why I need to FOCUS.  Bonnie has now posted the final step of this mystery and I need to get on with it.  So far I have resisted the temptation to look at the later postings - I'm afraid there might be more of these gazillion little pieces.  Tonight I will download Step 4 and work on it tomorrow - I sort of have a free day (if I don't go and do anything else...)  Focus, Focus - complete Step 4.

Wish me luck..

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year and a New Word

If you remember last year around this time I wrote about choosing a word for the year.  I first heard about this on the ArtQuilt Yahoo group I belong to.  The idea is to choose a word that you might find helpful in your journey for the year.  It is very helpful to have this word printed on a card/s and put in various places where you will find it or see it - just to remind you.  No stress involved - just a reminder.

It could be something very simple or complex - last year I chose 'Relax'.  I found I needed to learn not to worry about things I had no control over and not to get anxious about the things I did have control over.   Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't - but it did help in my day-to-day activities.  Some of you know my mother's health wasn't the very best this past year and I learnt that this was one of the things I had no control over.  But I did have control over how I handled it and to get other family members to help.

This year I am choosing ' FOCUS'.  I'm one of those people who wander off in a tangent at times.  Like going into the laundry to put some washing in the machine - start sorting it and realise I left some articles in the bedroom, go to get them and see I left a coffee cup on the bedside table, pick up said cup to take to kitchen and notice the rubbish bin needs emptying, take the bin outside and see.......... you know the story!  In an hour's time I realise I haven't turned the washing machine on!  So FOCUS, it is for this year.

What is your word for the year?