Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Things Here Lately


My colour palette is currently based on these shades

Well, we are definitely headed into late autumn now.  The leaves are changing colour and falling everywhere, my mandarin and feijoa trees have been fruiting prolifically, the violets are starting to flower.  I can smell wood smoke from the odd fire that has been lit in my neighbourhood, (in fact we lit ours last weekend) and I'm starting to need to wear layers at work.  

I have temporarily increased my hours at work, which may yet end up being a permanent change, so I am finding I need to be more organised to ensure I get time to do all the things I like doing. Lets just say that lists are my forte at present.  So anyhoo, here's what have I been up too lately. 

  • Obviously working on my new epp project, I have nine blocks completed now and have found a picture of the most beautiful floral arrangement, which has the colour palette I'd envisioned in my mind. I still struggle with choosing fabrics for the centre cross part of the block, I am sure that this part of the process takes longer than the actual stitching of the block itself.  I'm not sure if I'll make all the 48 blocks required, but I guess I have a lot of time to decide.
  • I have also decided I need to conquer my fear of sewing with knit fabrics and make myself some layering pieces to wear for work and exercise, ie: walking and yoga.  So far I've made a black merino top from a Burda style pattern, which caused me to do an awful lot of swearing at my machine, the top is still wearable, and I will try this pattern again, with a different fabric .  I have also made a sweatshirt using the Undercover Hoody pattern from Papercut Patterns, from a charcoal merino/tencel knit, I'm certainly glad I upsized to size S.  I would like to try the hoody version of this next time too.  Also in the plans is a new jacket for work in a beautiful magenta cashmere/viscose blend.  I'm really looking forward to making and  wearing this.
  • Of course, books will always feature in my daily life.  Some good novels I've enjoyed are:

            - The Invisible Woman By Erika Robuck (based on a real life story)

            - The Lost manuscript by Cath Bonidan (a charming epistolary novel)

  • This corner of my garden is bringing me a lot of joy at present.  I love the bright green and deep crimson irisene, and I don't think I have ever seen as many flowers on the vireya before.  My dahlias have been cut back, and I'm pondering whether to risk leaving the tubers in the ground over winter this year.  
Hoping you are all enjoy whatever season you are living in at present,

Friday, 30 April 2021

Kismet Kiss - A New EPP Project


Kismet Kiss quilt - image from here

A couple of weeks ago, Jodi from Tales of Cloth posted a new epp kit on her instagram page.  Out of curiosity flicked through to the pattern designer and came across this quilt. I don't know what appealed to me about it, but I couldn't stop thinking about it, so over Easter I ordered the template and epp papers kit.

The original pattern called for the blocks to be hand pieced, which I would never have done.  I like how epp means the pieces line up nicely, and stay rigid until you are ready to remove the paper pieces.

I kept thinking that my Densyse Schmidt fabrics would work perfectly for this giving it a slightly vintage yet modern feel, but I haven't has much luck working out a colour palette solely with her fabrics.  So while there will be a lot of her fabrics being used, there will still be a lot of other fabrics from Anna Maria Horner and Liberty, which will give it the scrappy yet hopefully cohesive look I love.   

They are not the quickest blocks to make, so I am anticipating at least another 3-4 years till this project is finished.

Monday, 5 April 2021

Things Here Lately

I'm currently enjoying the last night of a peaceful Easter Weekend home alone.  I've done some housework, pottered in the garden,  caught up with a couple of friends and generally made the most of having no schedule to keep or anyone else to look after.  
  • Autumn is definitely making her presence felt, my dahlias are pretty much finished, though my zinnias and cosmos are still flowering well.  I decided to make a big beautiful bouquet to brighten up my house this weekend, featuring the last of my dahlias, lime green iresine leaves, cosmos and zinnia.  After a few years of trial and error in my garden, it's nice to have plants that can survive a hot summer, little watering thus enabling me to finally have a picking garden.
  • Another Autumn blessing is that my feijoa trees finally start dropping their fruit.  I love eating them raw or mixed with apple in a fruit crumble.  However I recently saved a recipe for Topsy Turvy Feijoa Cake, and made it today. Perfectly delicious.
  • I had a sewing day last weekend with friends. I started making a new shirt which I finished off slowly over the following week.  It is the Seychelles Top from Itch to Stitch.  I made the long sleeve version, size 4B in a lovely rayon from Spotlight.  I'm really pleased with how it has turned out, especially as it was my first time doing a V neckline.  So pleased in fact, I started another one today.  Miss B,my usual photographer was away, so I had fun using the self timer function on my phone for these photos.
  • I came across a new word the other day.  Tsundoku - a Japanese word for the acquisition of books and keeping them  in a pile while never reading them, it can also refer to a pile of books.  Now I know I am guilty of having piles of books in my house,  (that's an occupational hazard when one works in a library), but generally they are all read. These four books have kept me entertained and educated over the past month.  All are historical fiction, except for Banks which is a biography on Joseph Banks the renowned botanist.  I have enjoyed them all and recommend any of them if you are looking for an interesting read.
Wishing you all wonderful week ahead.

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Fantail Shirt

The Fantail Shirt from New Zealand pattern company, The Sewing Revival has been on my want to make list for a while.  I had planned on making it on a sewing day away, however a cancelled weekend away hiking left me with spare time so I decided to start making it.

I decided to use an animal print rayon from my stash, and made the size 10.  Overall it is an easy pattern, the curved hem is finished with bias binding, and the front band as an elastic insert which gives a nice gathered finish to the centre front. I like the longer shirt tail at the back, am a little disappointed that the elasticated cuffs don't show as much gathering, but, I guess you don't want them to be too tight, and am thinking I should possibly size down for my next version. 

I'm not too sure if I feel a little frumpy in this or if it just the fabric I've used or how I've styled it.  I definitely think it looks better with the cropped jeans and could be a versatile trans-seasonal piece and something I can wear layered over a merino top  with skinny jeans and boots winter too.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Finished - Ice Cream Soda Quilt


All pieced - waiting for borders to be attached

Meeka - my not very helpful assistant

My hand pieced Ice Cream Soda quilt started in May 2017, is actually finished. The pattern and templates were from Tales of Cloth.  Fabric for all the blossoms was from my stash.  It has been a long slow process for me, culminating in getting all the blossoms and joining pieces finished last May in our long lockdown.

After attaching the border pieces, I painstakingly removed all the papers (with help from Meeka, and a teen then telling me all the ones I had missed) and pressed hundreds of seams.  Then it sat, folded carefully away till I decided what I wanted to back it with and how to quilt.

After my holiday in February , I decided that I needed to get it finished and in a useable state. I sent it to  Leeanne of Quiltmekiwi for quilting, I also purchased the wideback backing fabric and batting from her.  I deliberated long and hard about not hand quilting it myself, and still feel as though I have cheated for not doing so, but I know that it would have sat there for unfinished for years.  This way I can use it and love it,  and I feel that the machine quilting probably reinforces my hand stitching a little more too.

A lot of emails and messages were toing and froing between Leeanne and myself, and eventually I decided on an e2e quilting specifying that I still wanted it to be wrapable and not too stiffly textured or heavily quilted, but something that would give interesting texture.  Gingersnap was the design I decided on in the end.  Quilting was not without drama either,  unfortunately even though we couldn't see it, my border was to big for the pieced top, which resulted in a terrible wavy look.  Leeanne unpicked, trimmed and reattached them before she could start quilting again.

Because I had quite a multipatterned and coloured backing, a patterned binding did not look right. When picking the blue background fabric, I always had in mind the idea of flowers floating in water, and after some consulation with Leeanne, I decided to match the binding to the border fabric to create this effect. 

I'm really proud of this quilt, it was a big commitment deciding to handpiece one, and too actually finish it.  Many times I thought about passing it on, I'm glad I persevered and I couldn't be more happy with it.