My quilting thoughts and inspirations sprinkled with a glimpse of life down on the farm

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Red and White Quilt Challenge


Earlier this year I decided to commit myself to the SewCalGal 'A Year of Red and White Quilt Challenges'. The year started with an EQ (Electric Quilt) Bloghop which I took part in. After having no idea where to start with that post, I had a lot of fun with the Serendipity function ... the coolest discovery was transforming this Bear's Paw block —

to this — (Serendipity>Kaleidoscope) —
Then in March there was the Design it! Challenge. I decided to play with EQ7 again and came up with several ideas I thought would look great as a quilt. This was my favourite —

At our annual retreat in May I started sewing up this quilt, and made another major EQ7 learning....look at the block below, the way I put the chains together while designing meant that the centre of this block was rather stupid.... 4 small squares joined together to make one big one - duh! I've always known that you cant just design off EQ7, you also need a working and practical knowledge of quilting and how blocks go together. Back to the drawing board and replacing that tedious centre of the block with one simple square!
 Fast forward a few months and all of a sudden the deadline for entering the SewCalGal Make It challenge was rapidly approaching..time to get busy and concentrate on a little red and white sewing!
First this emerged —
Then this —
 This area is foundation paper pieced. Rather daunting at first but broken down into all its parts it wasn't so bad! (Hehe, when I opened up this block to play with it, EQ7 took great delight in telling me something like Serendipity blocks are not really designed to be sewn and played with. I ignored the warning, so pleased I did!)
Put them together and below we have the result - Choice!! I must admit I raced home from work this afternoon to do the last few seams.... and it still needs a jolly good press, some de-threading, some papers removed and the odd seam resewn (whew) but yaay, I'm pleased to have got to this stage.
And I'm in time to link up with the SewCalGal Make It! Challenge... with an hour or so to spare! Go *here* if you want to see what others have made. It didn't have to be our own design and thank goodness unquilted tops are permitted!

Thaks for reading along and letting me share my quilt (top). It feels great to be able to do that!
Happy creating,

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A day with Yoko Saito

My friend Barb and I had the most wonderful day yesterday in our class with Yoko Saito. Yoko is well known for her "exquisite designs and ingenious use of 'taupe colour' " (words borrowed from the blurb inside one of her books).
Because Yoko knows very little English, she was accompanied by another lovely lady, Satomi, who was able to translate for her.
However Yoko's hands told us much that we needed to know, she was very patient and clear in her demonstrations and there were many "Ahhh!" and "Wow" moments throughout the day!
Yoko and Satomi are in New Zealand for eight days I think and are squeezing in 6 workshop days in that time!
The project we were making was a notebook cover; in reality, what we were making was immaterial, what we learnt was invaluable.
Yoko's work is small (tiny at times!) and the way she works is simple, deft and efficient. What she showed us was that if you use the right tools or technique, doing small is achievable. Not that she has a vast repertoire of tools that she required us to buy, mostly it was using items that are already readily found in our craft rooms... although I think many of us will be purchasing the clever cutter she was using...(it's on her thumb in the photos above and below).
The notebook/diary cover we were making
Here is how far I got with my piece, doesn't seem a lot for a full day but there was lots to see and talk about of course!! (And morning, afternoon tea and lunch were all very well catered for!)
And Barb got about as far along it as I did!
Yoko finished the class by showing us two of the quilts which had travelled with her. Amazing!
And she tirelessly and graciously signed our copies of her books we had brought with us :-)

An added bonus of the class was meeting a fellow blogger. Fairly recently I have been delighted to come across another Raewyn in blogland!! Since I've been blogging I have had many comments and questions about my name... which intrigued me as it was a pretty common 60's name in New Zealand (I often seemed to have another Raewyn in my class while at school!)
I was excited to learn that she was doing the same class as us. Raewyn from Reconstructed Fabulousness is as lovely as her blog suggests. And she does the most beautiful handwork, her blog is well worth looking at and drooling over.
The two Raewyn Anne s in Red.
In case you think I may have neglected my animals for the day, this was how my day started (before the 3 hour drive!)
And I didn't get a photo of how it finished...dinner at the neighbours' place - the roast mutton was just being pulled out of the oven as I arrived after the big drive home. Absolutely fabulous!
A truly fantastic day!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Madness, Excitement and a Request

Madness on Sunday
You may recall a few posts back I made a Disappearing Pinwheel Block. After a comment to a fellow blogger recently wondering how small she could go with hers' I thought I should put my money where my mouth is and have a play —

Isn't it cute? Am I mad?
I made the HST for the pinwheel out of 2" squares and trimmed it to 2 1/4", I divided the pinwheel into 3 both horizontally and vertically, rearranged and sewed it up. The unfinished size of this block is 1 3/8". It is wonky but we don't sweat the small stuff, right?
And I don't think I could get any smaller!!
One little trick I have learnt when making little things is to start off bigger and trim down.
And I trimmed the seam allowances down to about 1/8th " as well.
Excitement for me!!
On Wednesday a friend and I are off down to Auckland to take part in a class with Yoko Saito!! How exciting is that?!! She does the finest fiddliest little applique and I love her use of fabrics and colours so I am really looking forward to learning from her :-) (Can you tell?)!!!!
In preparation for the class I needed to make myself an applique mat, so that was this morning's task. I used a piece of adhesive foam board and attached very fine sandpaper to one side. The back I covered in fabric (I didn't do such a good job of that, it's a little baggy) and edged it with binding using a hot glue gun as described by Lori Holt in her mini-design-board tutorials. I've been meaning to make myself some of her boards for ages, (which have batting on them rather than the sandpaper) so I guess now that I have the technique sussed there should be nothing stopping me :-)
Gathering my bits for my Yoko Saito class.
A Request 
Now this bit is for New Zealanders really, and in particular, those who live in or near Auckland. Our eldest daughter, Tarn, is counting down the weeks till the end of her study.... in November (or thereabouts), after five years intensive work, she will be a fully qualified Chiropractor!! Part of her training is working with clients in the school clinic with a certain number of 'new patient' visits and 'standard' visits each semester. She is down to single figures for her new patients but if there is anyone out there who would be interested in learning a little more about their body (and maybe any aches and pains) and having a new patient consultation please feel free to contact her. (No obligation)
Here is the blurb she sent me to use - 
Do you want to:
Reduce aches and pains? Improve performance and energy? Enhance immune system function? Improve balance and co-ordination? Improve digestive function?
Chiropractic care focuses on improving the communication between your brain and body via your nervous system. By ensuring that this system functions properly, chiropractic care can maximize your health, balance your body and improve performance. 
Enquire to  tania-marie.barge@chiropractic.ac.nz at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic. 
Thank you :-)

Here's my latest letter from the Country at Heart Alphabet. Too sweet :-)
{I've run out of thread for my Let's start Christmas stitching, just as well I had something else to carry on with, isn't it?}

Have a lovely week, happy stitching,