Friday 30 November 2018

Return of the Quilting Sewjo


 My Inspiration - image from here

Whilst browsing some of favourite quilt blogs the other day, I came across this wonderful scrappy quilt, made by Jolene of Blue Elephant Stitches.  I have long admired her quilts, and her use of colour, but this one just spoke to me.  That night when I got home I drafted a block pattern and made a test block.

I am going to attempt to follow Jolene's guide lines using  only dark and low volumes for the centres and then medium coloured fabrics for the outer pieces.  My blocks are 8" square unfinished, I think hers are a lot smaller. 

This afternoon, I cut, sewed and pressed and have ended up with a nice little collection of blocks. So far it's looking very soft and feminine, and I'm having fun finding pieces of fabric that I don't normally fit my preferred quilting aesthetic these days.  I don't know how big this quilt will end up, but I am thinking it may be a nice quilt for a little girl.

Here's to a weekend of sewing.

Thursday 22 November 2018

Eva Dress

As a birthday present to myself, I took myself into Auckland City and to The Fabric Store.  It was my first trip here, and definitely won't be my last.  I was after some linen to make the Tessuti Eva Dress , and they are quite well known for their selection of colours and different weights.  After deliberating over weights and colours for a while,  I ended up buying a midweight linen in vintage brick colourway.

I didn't enjoy pinning and cutting out the pattern, mainly because Miss B had taken over the dining room table with all her study paraphernalia, so my knees and back were over this dress before I even sat down to start sewing it. Of course any time I work on the floor, Meeka is there casting a watchful eye over the proceedings.

Sewing the dress itself was actually not hard, and I was pleasantly surprised at how little the linen seemed to fray with all the handling it had whilst being sewn. The pattern provides photos, links to online tutorials and clear instructions.  Some areas were a little fiddly, especially when attaching all the bias binding.  My only problem was that after attaching my beautifully bound sleeves to the bodice, and then trying it on, I realised that my shoulders were just too broad for it to fit comfortably.  At this point I moved onto making the skirt, which has pockets.  Once I attached it to the bodice , I tried it on again and decided the sleeves were going to have to come off.

Tessuti's description of the dress is as follows

 " This loose dress features a bodice that sits at high waist and a panelled, lantern-shaped skirt with side pockets "

I think after a couple of washes, the linen will soften a little more and the lantern effect will not be as pronounced. I made the XS size, but am wondering, if I made it again, to make the skirt in XXS so it's not so full. It could also be nice made in a heavier weight fabric for a winter dress too.

So while it is not quite the version of the dress I visualised, I still have a lightweight comfortable (perfect for indulging on Christmas Day) dress for summer.

**Photos courtesy of Miss B

Friday 16 November 2018

Things Here Lately

It's a busy time of year at present.  Miss B and Mr J are sitting exams, summer sports have started, the lawns and weeds are growing faster than I can maintain them.  Sometime very soon, I seriously need to think about Christmas shopping and menu planning too.  Anyway, here's a little snapshot of what else has been keeping me busy lately.
  • Taking the time in the evening to head down to the little beach, near where I live and appreciate the sunset.
  • Garment sewing plans- the Eva Dress from Tessuti in vintage brick linen, the only downside to PDF patterns is the cutting of lots of pages, fitting them together, then cutting out all the pieces again.  Hopefully I can make a start on it this next weekend.
  • A gorgeous inspiring pile of gardening, (it's nice to dream) cooking and sewing books from the library.
  • Loving this simple 16 patch quilt from the book - USE SCRAPS, SEW BLOCKS, MAKE  QUILTS.  Maybe this is what's needed to get my sewjo back for quilting - a nice simple pattern and lots of colour.  though I think I may need to buy a few more solids first.
  • My summer vegetable garden is coming along nicely - lettuce, beetroot and cucumber with African marigolds on one side of the tamarillo tree - the other side of the tree are my tomato plants.  Fingers crossed for a prolific haul.  
  • Summer colour is starting to clothe my Canna lilies now and bring some much needed colour to my garden, and my star jasmine is just starting to bloom.
Wishing you all a fabulous weekend.

Monday 12 November 2018

A Surprise Garden Ramble

Last week I celebrated a birthday.  I was starting to feel a little peevish with my husband, because he hadn't given me a gift.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I arrived home from work on Saturday afternoon, to see my Mum sitting on the sofa, while my husband gave me my gift, which was tickets for us to take part in the Franklin Hospice Garden Ramble the following day.

Sunday dawned, warm but drizzly (mum brings wet weather with her, any Australians needing rain should get her to visit them), we donned raincoats, walking shoes and carried umbrellas, and had a lovely day visiting large scale country gardens.  I think we managed to visit 11 of the 18 that were open.

The following are some of the gardens, vistas, plants and plantings that caught my eye.



Meanwhile, I've got a trailer of mulch to spread on my gardens, so that will stop me from thinking I need a house in the country with wonderful views, and perhaps a gardener to help me maintain my dream garden.

Friday 2 November 2018

Auckland Festival of Quilts

Yes, it's that time of the year again.  Luckily the Festival always begins on a Friday, when I have my rostered day off.  This year I met up again with Linda and Raewyn.  We had a lovely time chatting, catching up, critiquing the quilts and of course a little retail therapy.

I thought that there were less quilts on display than other years,(though I still managed to take lots of photos) and maybe not so many really modern quilts. Possibly because I have been doing a lot of applique those sort of quilts attracted my attention more.   A couple of my favourite quilt fabric retailers were absent too, though that was possibly a good thing for my credit card.

Here are some quilts that caught my eye, and have hopefully reignited my sewjo for quilting which has been somewhat absent this year.

L-R: Raewyn, me and Linda

Secret Garden by Jenny Henry

Atomic Daisies by Kathy White ( I should try and finish my version of this)

High Rose City by Anne Joule.  Paperpieced and hand sewn, made from tie offcuts

Just for Fun by Sue Flego

Abigail by Lorraine Williams

Mum;s Favourite by Wendy Johnson

Foxley Village by Mary Metcalf

Close up from Foxley Village

Recyceld Rig by Tish Brindle

The Long Bush Walk by Robyn Croft

Neighbours by Dianne Dowd

Cats by Sonya Prchal

Tiger by Leeanne Hopper

Little Pieces of Yesteryear by Colleen Burr

Down the Rabbit Hole by Rebeccca Bishop

Birds of a Feather by Tish Brindle

Little Brown Bird by Betty Mclean

Around the Garden by Rebecca Bishop

Solstices by Julia Vazey

Dear Jane by Margaret Reid (This would be the prettiest version I have seen)

Who Made these Blocks by Val Williams (Comprised of donated hexis)

by Sue De Vanney

My purchases.