Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Bring a Plate :)

Hi everyone,

I still have plenty of ambition these days, and still can't stay on just one project!  I really should be working on some stars for the row by row quilt, but there is plenty of  time.... I've finished putting the binding on both the scrappy quilt and the blue and white quilt. Still deciding whether to sew them down by hand or machine. I don't mind doing either method.

  I very much  needed to  sort my fat quarter collection.  I think they will be much more usable if they are in some kind of colour order and I really want to make better use of my stash.  I needed to make a stack of  "brights" and then the hot pink and teal started calling out to me...I tried to ignore them, but I couldn' this happened.

I don't usually work with brights much, but I do have some to pick from, so will be using them more now that I can see them much more easily. I've always liked hot pink and teal together.

See the fabric stack behind the plates? That is meant to be six fat quarters together, but one of the fabrics I thought was a fat quarter was a skinny quarter instead.  I traced one row of slices from left to right last night.  This morning I sewed all the slices and made five plates.  As you can see by how much is left on that pile, I could have done at least two more rows, maybe three, if all six fabrics were fat quarters.  Because the one is a skinny 1/4,  (9" x 42")   I will only be able to cut one more row.
Those are my super good scissors and they were able to cut through all six layers at once, amazing!

While I was ironing the plates, I saw the binding for the dinosaur quilt waiting near the iron.  It was all made,  just needed to be folded and ironed, so I did that too.  I've got the rows mostly done for that quilt and here is a look at the backing, a nice shade of blue. 

The first dinosaur has been done for over a week.  I've been having a hard time getting started on this second one.  I am worried about doing the mouth, hands, and those little things on the legs.  I still could cut those little things on the legs off...LOL.  I'm scared. I'm still in the kindergarten phase of machine applique..  That's all for now.  I need to sort at least one of those quilt bindings so I can call it a finish for OPAM.  xx debbie

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Bunny Bib #2, Girl 11 Update

Hi everyone,

I've finished the second baby bunny bib.  I did the binding differently and changed the bunny tails around, but the rest is the same as the first one.

I made the binding narrower and applied it in one go, instead of sewing it on and then sewing the back down by hand, like a quilt binding, which is how the bib pattern says to do it.   I found it easier to manage (and faster) to do it in one go on the machine.

This binding method gave a smoother finish. The blue bunny has a tiny bow for a tail, but this time the pink bunny has a ribbon rosebud tail instead of a bow.

The fabric on the back is the same as bib #1.  I will do the binding this way from now on.

I finished the quilting on this one.  I would normally finish one this size in one day, but I worked on this one off and on over 4 days. Because I had to pivot every 3 inches, I had to adjust the quilt too.  It was very tiring so I had to rest in between, but I am happy with the final result.

Now there are two quilts ready for binding.  I think two at once is a first for me.

Here are their bindings:  the pink goes with the scrap quilt and is all ready, the blue is still in progress.  I love EVERY single stage of quilting with the exception of one tiny detail...I despise joining the binding ends together when I get the binding sewn on the quilt.  Because I make my binding joined on an angle, I want that same angle with the final join.  For years, I have been using the directions from a quilt book I have called "Happy Endings", and it's always a challenge.  So, a quick search took me here.   I will be trying this method with whichever of the two quilts gets the binding on first.  

Do you remember my beautiful Girl 11?  She came to me on a plane from a faraway place in QLD.  She is a working girl and she needed rest for medical reasons. 

She stayed with me for just over a month over December and January.  Here she is on Christmas Day.
You might remember that her blind guy had to fly back home and he was VERY sad to be away from her for so long.  He depends on her heavily to guide him, and while she was with me, he had to use his white cane and friends to help him get around.  Over the course of that month, I helped her write emails to him and he wrote back to her. 

Did I mention she is still my very favourite one?!!!  This girl is very special.  Her blind guy sent an email to the special dog place to let them know that Girl 11 recently made the front page of her hometown newspaper!! I will show you part of the email because he still remembers me.

"(girl 11)  is the star on front page of  (local newspaper) today.  Please pass on my gratitude to (**** )   and Deb (carer).  Let them know  (girl 11)  is back to full work and doing well. We have our annual fundraiser at  ******Bowls Club in May.   I feel very confident we will raise at least $2,500 this year. Preparations are going very well."   smiles, (his name, her name)
There was a link to the article which I would love to show you, but I can't, because he is in the picture too.  It is a fantastic picture of her and she looks well and it made me cry!  In the article, he tells of his vision (single digit now) and how much he trusts her and depends on her.  I am happy they are back together, but she really was the best one  and I do miss her.   xx debbie

Friday, 18 April 2014

Bunnies, Dinosaurs, Boy 14

Hi everyone and Happy Easter too.  I had a finish last week, just a small project, but several others are on the go too.

I made this cute little bunny baby bib. The bunnies are machine appliqued, the green part is ribbon, and the horizontal lines are machine quilting. The background is pastel dots on white and the tails are premade tiny bows.  The binding had to be cut on the bias to suit the curves. You can see the picture
more clearly by clicking on it.

The binding is from a pink and white "pillow ticking" fabric and the backing is tiny pink flowers.

I was able to trace two of this size bib on the one fat quarter. I've finished the machine applique on the second bib. It will have different backing and binding and bunny tails.

I've cut the strips for the dinosaur quilt binding (brown) and the bunny bib (blue mini gingham) too.
The brown looks rather like scales up close and will be a good match. The blue is cut on the bias so I can use it on the bunny bib. There might be enough for another bib or two as well.

I've finished machine quilting the scrappy quilt but the binding is not finished yet. I used pink thread.
My new light helped a LOT.  Now I don't have to sew only in daylight hours.

I've starched the backing for the blue and white zig zag quilt. This is blue and white pillow ticking fabric from my stash.  The batting has arrived too, so it is all ready for basting and quilting soon.

The brown variegated thread collection I needed for the dinosaur applique has arrived.  This was an awesome deal.  There are 5 spools of various shades of variegated browns through creams.  Each spool has 1097M (1200 yards).  This collection was 49.95, on sale for $35. I have machine appliqued the dinosaur on the left and the heart so far.

Regarding Boy 14:  He was not able to come last Friday because Sunday was my monthly Sunday Stitchers meeting. I knew I would be gone well over 3 hours, (the maximum they allow), so he would have had to stay at the kennel all day. We decided he would come to me Monday instead so I would be home with him most of the week to help him settle in.  Early Monday am, I set up the bed, got bunny and teddy ready, along with the food bowl and treats, etc.  Then I had a call that went something like this:  He spent the weekend with one of the trainers and another dog. They had a RIGHT good time, with a huge slobberfest during their play. Since it was rainy too, they have both developed a skin condition related to the dampness. They both will be on antibiotics, twice daily baths, and some shaving will possibly happen too.  We are not sure if he will come to you when he is well again, but we will let you know as soon as we have a dog for you to board.  *sigh*
My last dog was so naughty, I had no choice but to send her back, and the one before that was so unwell, they decided to put him to sleep.   I just have to be patient until the time is right again.  I've been invited to a doggy graduation ceremony at the end of April though, so I am looking forward to that nice day out.
Hopefully I will have Boy 14 or another dog come to me soon.  Happy stitching! xx debbie

Friday, 11 April 2014

Hmmm...Boy 14

I've just had an email from my contact person at the very special dog place that I provide foster care for.  When the new boy comes on Monday, he will be  #14 for me, and just over a year now of volunteering for this very special charity.

I usually get a form that explains everything I might think to ask, such as: age, weight, habits, health issues, current medications, quirks, current food requirements, etc.....This time, my contact person is on holidays, so the form hasn't come to me yet.  It will come on Monday with Boy 14.

The email I got today made me gobsmacked...which I will say now is an understatement LOL.
These special dogs are on a raw food diet, which comes to me frozen, in a box of 12 servings.  I thaw out enough for a couple of days, and when feeding time comes, I add a bit of boiling water from the kettle to warm it up and thin it out a bit, as directed by the special place.  It looks like raw hamburger, but stinks like lamb, so I stand back when I prepare it.  Each frozen patty is 227 grams.

Out of that many dogs I have looked after, they have each either been on one patty in the am and one in the pm, or the other option is one patty in the am and half a patty in the pm, depending on their current weight and activity levels.  So, why am I gobsmacked this time?  The email I received today says that Boy 14 is on 3.5 patties per day.  3.5?!?!? Seriously?!  Now I am wondering just how big this lovely boy is that he needs THAT  much food in one day.  Now I can hardly wait until Monday when he arrives! All I know at this point is that he is a Yellow Lab, youngish, and apparently he eats a LOT more than any of my other foster pups. I am so excited to meet him soon. xx debbie

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Let there be light, Boy 14

Hi everyone,

Last month, I had an amazing win on Caroline's blog that you can find here.  There were 456 entries and four winners, including me (Debbie W).

Caroline gives a good description of it all, but I couldn't resist taking my own pictures too.  This picture makes me laugh!  The win was for an LED light strip that attaches to the sewing machine.  I plugged it in flat to have a look before installation, and it blinded me! I saw spots for ages after this.

This picture shows my sewing machine at night with the regular lights. There are shadows and the lights are not very bright.

This picture shows my sewing machine at night with the regular lights and the new lights on too.
The light is so bright, my camera would not flash, even though the room was dark.

This picture shows the new lights only, at night. This picture was taken in darkness and the camera still would not flash.

See the blinds there on the left? This is a daytime picture, regular lights only.

And this is a daytime picture, both sets of lights on.  This is a very cool product and I would like to offer special thanks to Caroline and to Inspired LED for this very generous giveaway. I love this product! On the paperwork with the light, it said "For when too much light is just right".  I totally agree, and I could not be happier. This light kit will make such a difference and it will mean I can sew anytime, instead of during daylight hours only.  Grateful!!!

On the sewing front,  I am awaiting a parcel from America to arrive. I need the batting to finish the blue and white quilt.  I've done as much as I can on the dinosaurs, too, but I need the brown thread that is in the parcel before I can applique them.  I've pin basted the scrappy quilt I showed in my previous post, and I will quilt that later today, using my new lights, of course!
I would also like to thank dear Fiona for posting her method for sorting little applique pieces on baking paper.  I used her method to assemble the dinosaurs and it worked perfectly.  You can find the directions on her blog under "how to", if you would like to give it a go.

I am happy to tell you I am expecting again. If you read my blog, you know I am a foster mum for the very special dogs that guide blind people.  I am expecting Boy 14 on Monday and he is a Yellow Lab.  He could have come today, but I will be out all day Sunday, so we decided to wait until I can be here all day to help him settle in.  I am grateful that I am able to help this very worthy charity.  I will post pictures of him soon, once I get to meet him too!

That's all for now. xx debbie

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Success :)

Hi everyone,

Thank you for giving me your honest opinion about the blue and white quilt.  I had to agree with the majority and fix it.  I thought of two other options, but then decided they would take longer to do.

Here is the revised version. I am much happier with it now.  I still find it interesting that I didn't
notice anything was wrong until I looked at the first set of pictures.  This is one of those designs
that makes your eyes buggy if you stare at it too long LOL.

So, what went wrong?  I started with 10 blocks across, then decided 11 would be better.  The rows
were not sewn together yet, so I just added one block to each row.  Once I unpicked the rows that were wrong, I could see that there were just those two blocks on the left that made everything else
be in the wrong places.  It wasn't hard to fix. I only unpicked 3 rows and then remade those two blocks so they would be facing the  right way. No matter which way I turned them, they were still wrong and needed to be sewed in the opposite way.

I remade my design wall today (it's a flannel sheet on a door). The lumpy spot in the quilt top in the bottom left corner is over the door knob.  This will be a safe place to keep it until the batting arrives.
One thing I did differently with this quilt top is to spray it with a light starch mist with each pressing.
This made a noticeable difference in the accuracy of all those points, especially taking into consideration the amount of bias edges in the top. I plan to use the starch on all patchwork from now on. I used an inexpensive brand that you mix with water yourself in your own spray bottle.

While I was doing all that ironing today, I decided to get this flimsy out again. It has been finished for months. I even had the backing and batting already cut. All it needed was the final ironing before
basting.  I'm not sure if I will get to this today or wait until it's cooler in the morning in that room. xx debbie

Friday, 4 April 2014

Hmmm...What would you do?

Hi everyone,  
I decided to take a picture of this flimsy today.  I am so ready to quilt it, but the batting is not here yet, so it will just have to wait for another week or two. I have some pretty variegated blue thread
for machine quilting that I think will be perfect for it.

Once I had a good look at the picture, I could see something isn't right. Can you see it too?

The rows with the colours are right, but the white parts vary.  It appears this has happened because the starting block in each row is not facing the same.  What would you do?  Would you take it apart or just continue on? I get told regularly that I overthink things, am asking for other opinions.   Honest feedback is truly welcome!

I did the prep work on the two dinosaurs today. This first fabric is called "At Home in the Woods" by MCKENNA RYAN. 

This fabric is so UGLY, it is cute. Also, the colours are perfect for my blue and brown quilt.  Can you see the cane toads?  I actually really like it now.  I want this quilt to have a touch of whimsy. These are two dinosaurs in love.  The blue heart below will be between them.

This puppy is from a small triangle scrap of fabric.  I like how this looks so far, too.

This is an invitation that came in the mail today for a Morning Tea to thank the volunteers.  I can't
resist a smiling puppy.  The picture is much cuter than my camera shows though.

Tonight is FNWF over at Cheryll's place.  I baked an oatmeal cake this morning. (It's delicious)
You can have as much as you want, because the oatmeal cancels out the chocolate chips, ok?
I will settle in with some embroidery tonight. I have two that are really close to being finished, and
I also find it hard to sew on the machine at night with all the shadows.  Happy stitching, xx debbie