Thursday, July 20, 2017

Finishing touches

After piecing all the blocks together the quilt would not be complete without being machine quilted by my sister, Linda.

Echoing the shape of a fox garment gave the best finishing touch to this block.











This little whale is one of our favourites.

His/her water spout bears a strong resemblance to paisley shapes which are often used in quilting patterns.












This little boy is a real star in his family's life and Linda has given special emphasis to the stars in these blocks by echoing around them.














Maybe sometimes he might be a little monkey too?

















He probably has the heart of a very brave lion!

Nearly finished now.



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

In between times

I continue to make beanies and booties for the  Nursery Intensive Care Unit at Waikato Hospital.

I have tried a number of patterns and different wool weights and have settled for the following:-

Wool - Utiku 4ply baby wool - beautifully soft, lovely to work with and at $6 per 50gm (plus p and h) it works out at the best value for me.

Beanie - I use a 5mm crochet hook.  The beanie is designed to fit a baby's head 12 inches in circumference.


Booties - For these I use a 4.5mm crochet hook.  The pattern is in 2 sizes and I make the larger size - the booties should measure approximately 3.5 inches in length.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Moving right along


Moving along from making decisions for the design board I was then able to progress on completing the blocks.

Each block needed fusible interfacing and then the elements from the garments had to be backed with fusible web.

Additionally the individual pieces needed to be stitched to the blocks.





The whale block is now pieced and has submitted well to the process.

A pocket and star cover the gaps in the corners.













A combination of a  4 patch block, a sleeve of the garment and some manufacturers' labels for this block.













Lots of fun cutting and combining of some of the smaller motifs from baby garments.

Everything is well on its way towards completion.





Thursday, July 13, 2017

Decisions to be made


Making a quilt from baby size garments requires decisions at every stage.

I have found that if the garment has been cut with enough 'room' then I can usually get enough for an 8.5" square that I can use for background pieces for most of the blocks.

Sometimes I may want to use fabric from the arm or leg of a garment and in this case I find cutting 4.5" squares and making them into 4 patch blocks can provide background fabric with just a little more interest.

The top right hand block has a four patch background.

The whale block - top right was the front of a garment and had to be cut on an angle to make it work.  Even then I will have to cover two of the corners with motifs to make it the size it needs to be.

The bottom left is from a newborn stretch and grow - a lovely outfit - I could not put all of the garment on the quilt so I selected a part which reflected what it was like.

These images are all from the creation process.  I placed them on the design board as I proceeded but lots of changes still to be made to come to the final get together of all the pieces.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The same but different


When I embarked on this second memory quilt I wondered if there would be similar themes to the first quilt.

This image of Santa's little helper was one of my favourites in the first quilt, providing a happy memory of the Christmas theme.









I was pleased to see the Christmas theme had been repeated in the garments I received for the second quilt.

This one includes images of all of Santa's reindeer.












This baby hat for the first quilt was quite a challenge for me.

I was concerned that if I cut into the knit fabric it would all come to grief somewhere along the way but it has lasted the distance very well.










I did not feel quite so daunted when I saw a hat included this time.

Made from cotton I think this one should wear well too.

I left the bottom of the hats open on both quilts - something for little fingers to play with.

Monday, July 10, 2017

About four years ago.....

.....I was asked if I could make a memory quilt from a mix of baby garments.

Just recently the mother returned with a box or two of baby garments so that I could make her another quilt for her second son.

It was lovely to see how the first quilt has stood the test of time.  It did need a few little bits of stitching but on the whole it has taken up repeated washing extremely well.

I understand it is much loved by its young owner and pockets have been a favourite for hiding little toys etc.

If you go to this link you can see a young boy happily snuggled under his then new quilt.

This is my new pile of garments ready for the scissors.

It has been quite an exercise but it is all coming together and that is good.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

My butterflies came back to me

During March I wrote about a butterfly block swap I was entering.

You always take a risk with this sort of thing because you can never be sure if you will like what you receive in return but I was not disappointed.

All the blocks that came back to me were crisp and bright, so what could I do but make another 8 so that I had something to work with.

They did not take long to come together but needed a something extra to finish them off so I added a four patch border make up from our pre cut stash.  A lovely bright outcome in the end.

This turned out to be quite a good scrap busting project as I made my butterflies from our pre cut stash as well.

At just over 40" square this will make a nice and bright wall hanging for our sun room when it is quilted.



Monday, May 22, 2017

Ah, this is looking better

Linda has been busy quilting and I have been busy binding and so our happy blocks are looking a whole lot happier.

A very enjoyable project.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Happy Bocks are Happening

A sneaky peek at a project Linda and I have been working on lately.

We are making some community quilts and have revisited an old favourite Happy Blocks.

I did the cutting, Linda did the piecing and then I sewed the rows together.
The pattern suggests 48 blocks and I soon realised that we did not have enough variety in our stash for the I Spy centre pieces for that many blocks.

We put a call out to our Sweet Pea ladies and soon our I Spy stash was looking a whole lot brighter and better thanks to them.

Once we started putting the blocks up on a design board we decided that 30 blocks would probably be sufficient so I cut out enough for another 12 blocks and we now have 2 x 30 block quilt tops ready for machine quilting and binding.

More pictures on completion.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

A present for a granddaughter


A wee while ago I spotted this little patchwork bag online.

The little girl and the bag so reminded me of my granddaughter I felt I had to give it a go.

Gingercake.org has a tutorial for this here.








This was my end result.

I then realised my granddaughter had her 4th birthday coming up in May so I sent it to England for that occasion.














Anna-Clara's Dad bought her a pretty pink bike for her birthday and here she is sporting her new patchwork bag - very suitable for this little girl.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A little bit of different stitching

Winter is drawing close and it seems to be the time of year to have a bit of yarn in hand to be a bit creative.

I cannot knit like I used to so I decided to get out a crochet hook instead.

Haven't done any crochet for years but it did not take much to pick up on the tricks of the trade.

I don't really want to make any large items so I have embarked on making items for premature size babies.  This beanie is about 4 inches across and the bootees about 2 inches.

Nice to be able to add a little flower and trim to this little hat.













These seamless bootees were nice to make.  I need a bit more practice on these but they come together quite well.

I have been in touch with a couple of Nursery Intensive Care Units from different hospitals and will be forwarding them from time to time.

I have two bundles batched up and ready to go.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

A parliament of owls

At last, my parliament of owls has gathered.  Eight of them in total and they seemed to take a long time about gathering together to overseer with all their collective wisdom.

From the Fancy Forest quilt this is my third set of creatures and by far the most complex to complete.

I was not altogether happy with my colour combinations but I am sure, in the whole scheme of things, that all will be well.

Their eyes seem to give off a bit of a disgruntled look so perhaps I have disturbed their sleep to bring them together for their parliament.

I am now halfway through the blocks, with the firefly, the hedgehog and the thistle to do.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Those steadfast mountains























These mountains to the south of us remain steadfast even though we may go for days and days with them being covered in cloud.

We are going from warmer to cooler at the moment, including the first dumping of snow on the mountains.  Quite a few times recently, in the mornings, there has been mist rising from the Waikato River below us and with that and the low lying cloud over Lake Taupo, the mountains look like they are floating in the distance.

Even as I write the sky is changing all too quickly so it was nice to be able to capture the moment.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Elvis has left the building

I recently joined an online swap for butterfly blocks.

I made 8 in total and today they were set free to flutter their way to the United States so they can go to a new home.

In time 8 different ones will flutter their way back to me.

In the meantime I still had a yen to make a few more of these easy to make blocks and so I went to see if Elvis had left the building and I found -

this very old peg bag with Elvis theme fabric that I bought off an auction site.

It has served us well but












with a hole in the side like this it really made me feel it was time for Elvis to leave the building so we could give our clothes pegs a new home.









A few more butterfly blocks and suddenly a new peg bag too.

It has been interfaced and is double thickness so I am hoping it will last twice the distance.
It is fully reversible so could be used as a kitchen apron as well but we do have lots of them already so that will probably not be necessary.

Some of you probably use a clothes dryer and do not have a need for a peg bag but we still hang our clothes on the line and so this is a very useful item at our home.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Butterflies, again

A few days ago I wrote about a butterfly block that was new to me.

Today I decided to revisit the butterfly block and make a small bound quilted project for a small table in our guest lounge.

This room has a touch of yellow in the decor and so I make a yellow butterfly surrounded by a dusty pink.

A few hours later it was complete - so nice to do small projects sometimes.

Yes, there it is, in the corner of our guest lounge adding a touch of colour that harmonises with the other colours of the room.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The herd is complete


Having completed my skulk of foxes for my Fancy Forest quilt, it was time to complete on my herd of rabbits.

I had to make 16 of the fox blocks but the rabbit challenge was easier as I only had to complete 8.

Oh no!  There's only 7 in this image.  One of my rabbits has run away.

It turned out to be the grey rabbit with the white ears.  He had decided to stay behind at the sewing machine but he has now returned to the herd.








I don't usually give names to blocks but this rabbit was made from a fabric with an overall floral design and so I have called her Rosie Rabbit - she may well be the herd leader.

Rabbits completed, I am taking a break from this project until next month when I will be doing the owl blocks - probably the most complex of all the blocks so I will be glad when I have completed.




Monday, March 13, 2017

Butterfly Blocks


With my daily musings on the internet it never seems hard to find quilty things that inspire, in fact, much more than I could ever contemplate completing in my lifetime.

The butterfly blocks featured here came my way via a swap group It Seams Unlimited on Facebook.

All the piecing (except for the yellow centres) is oversized so that the components can be trimmed back.  This makes for better accuracy in the completed block and makes them look quite sharp, at least I think so.

The butterfly blocks are 9" square when complete.

The current swap (block pattern included in this link) is for the butterfly block if you are interested in participating.  You would need to join the It Seams Unlimited group first to tag along.

Georjah is looking for swaps of a minimum of 4 blocks.  This is a centralised swap with Georjah receiving and mailing all blocks so return postage needs to be considered if you live outside the USA.

I have decided to give it a go, so it will be interesting to see what comes back to me as a result of the swap.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Gifts for Wwoofers

This April it will be two years since we first welcomed Wwoofers (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) into our home and hearts.

They come to us to help maintain our property and in return we provide accommodation and meals.

Through this organisation we have met people from Japan, Switzerland, England, Austria, Germany, Sweden, USA, Canada and France.  It has always proven to be an exercise greatly appreciated on both sides, if return visits are anything to go by.

At the end of this month we have two German girls coming who were with us a while back.  They have travelled the South Island and on their return have requested to come back to us.  We will gladly receive them.  They, among others, have proved to be very willing workers at our place.

In appreciation of their time with us we like to send Wwoofers away with a small gift that won't take up too much room in their baggage but will provide a memory of their time in New Zealand.

We make them mug rugs - something to have their coffee or tea on with a snack.


We like to think that when they return to their home country and resume their work or study life they will use these and remember their experiences in New Zealand.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Op Shop Fabric

You never know when some fabric might come in handy.

I bought some yardage of this pink cat fabric from an op shop more than 12 months ago at the right price.

There was no purpose in mind when it was purchased but I felt sure there would be a use for it one day.









Recently Linda had the opportunity to make a couple of community quilts.

The pink fabric has found a home at last.

I framed the panel for her with orange fabric and when she finished the machine quilting I finished it with magic binding.

The cat fabric is brushed cotton.  Along with the batting it has become a soft cuddly quilt.

Some of the pink fabric remained and Linda thought it would be a nice idea to make it into a dolly blanket - so that is what I did.

Not a bad use for some fabric that had been sitting in our stash for a while.












Linda still had some time to make a second community quilt and so I used the rest of the orange fabric to border the panel.

We had some grey polar fleece for the backing.
Cotton batting was used and again we have another snuggly quilt for a young person.


When using the orange fabric I had to resort to adding some 4 patches to make it all fit.

In turn this meant that the magic binding I like to use would not be suitable as it is wider and extends more into the border, therefore losing the effect of the 4 patch.

Back to regular binding which was nice to do for a change and it worked well in this instance.

P.S.  I have not shown the quilts in their entirety.  Linda made them and I am leaving it for her to blog about them if she wishes.