Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Diamond Hill and Luv Shack

Hi Everyone,

Ages since I blogged, life just seems to get in the way or is it quilting, not sure but have been busy and just had a few days in ChCHh as well. Party for a great friend celebrating his 65th birthday, Steve only stayed a couple of days but with four brothers and three years since I had visited them I stayed an extra few days so that could catch up with everyone, especially a couple of very close girlfriends.
part 5 of Diamond HIll came out just before I left and Esther had gone to great trouble to give options for making the diamond borders. Being me I had been quietly working away on these borders since month one as knew I wasn't going to piece them but applique them to the sashing strip. Having the picture of the finished quilt the calculations were simple but decided to cut my strips at 3" wide and trim after stitching them - just in case!!!

When I bought the sashing background (stonehenge) thought it was in the perfect tonings to go with my diamonds and it is, it tones right in, so much so that the diamonds lose their definition.
Diamonds would have been perfect against my block fabric but had fallen in love with what I used for my blocks and even though there wasn't enough for the sahings was determined to make it work.
Had cut all my sashings so was not letting it go to waste so played with threads to highlight the diamonds and have used a variegated 12wt thread that has the same colours as the diamonds. In hindsight a solid burgundy might have been the best choice but it looked too bold at the time.
Placing the diamonds was the fiddliest bit, stitching was a breeze as zigged and zagged my way down one side and then back up the other and presto they were done.

When the sashings were only around the blocks I was very uncertain about them but the addition of the dark strips made them start to pop. Thought I would have to wait for part 5 for the central star but suddenly realised it was a Lemoyne Star that was in a foundation piecing pattern book.
Size was almost perfect with only a slight enlargement needed to get my pattern

My plan was for an orange and yellow star but decided to use this gold fabric instead so green became my contrast. Cut and layered my pieces so the green was on top and I could stitch the edges continously. My half square triangles are pieced, just stitched afterwards.

Yesterday I added the next diamond borders and have the top cornerstones in place.

Tossed up between using purple or this red for the base, red won and think it was the right choice.
Last two cornerstones today and will be up to date again.

Have been spending time on Luv Shack the last few weeks as well and progress has been good.
Decided to use butterflies on the border, went with the ones that toned most with the border so as not too in your face.

When the corner ones were on it needed some on the sides as well.

had been thinking about my backing for a while and came across a Kiwiana fabric called Retro Baches which seemed so fitting for this quilt,  Once again not enough left for a complete backing so had to come up with a way to make it work which was of course to make the quilt reversible.
was able to get more of both the border fabric and the red, this is the result for my backing.

Typical Kiwi baches from the 60's and 70's
The half inch red strip just brings the fabric to life and its surrounded by a brillant sunny day, what more could anyone want..
Thought about the quilting problems I might have matching up the borders so spray basted my backing to the batting first and stitched  just inside the red border before turning it over and placing the top. Also made the center of the backing slightly larger than the top so could position the front just inside the stitching line. So far have stitched around nearly all the hearts, with dark grey thread on top and fawn in the bobbin my quilting is working out fine.

So thats what I have been doing the last few weeks, hoping to get this finished or very close to by June 1st when the next part of Secret Garden is released as am dying to find out what comes next and whether we use our contrast fabric or not, love mine and have fingers crossed it will work.

Enjoy your week everyone,
Cheers Jenny

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Luv Shack and Secret Garden.

Hi everyone,

On a roll at the moment, block four of Diamond Hill complete and have been adding hearts and more hearts to Luv Shack. Having no set idea what to put where so decided to start filling in from the bottom and see what happened.

 Lower Quarter

Used my camera at this stage with small hearts only fused in place, happy with how it is coming together apart from the bottom center heart which is too light and the orange one just above it, Changed these, stitched them down and carried on filling and stitching.

All stitched.

Pretty much what I had been hoping it would look like though not quite as random looking as I wanted I am a organised person which is probably why couldn't get out of my comfort zone. It is a throw not a wall hanging and my friend doesn't know they were meant to be random.
Next was the border, had a real problem finding something to go with it but had been thinking in the wrong direction. The sit and sew group made some suggestions last week and they seem to work.
First was to add a red peeper strip around the quilt. 

Didn't want to cut to size yet so marked my cutting line and cut quarter inch wide webbing and fused to the inside of the line.

Pressed my folded peeper strip into place and stitched right on the raw edge to stop any movement 
then stitched on my border.

Went bold with the border but it seems to work especially with the red peeper strip.
Am wondering whether it needs something on the border but not hearts as think that would be too much so am thinking butterflies.


Luckily I don't have to make a decision yet as the 1st of the month arrived on Monday and Block 4 of Secret Garden was released. Am falling more and more in love with Esther's beautiful pattern as each block is released. Each block is becoming more detailed and having reduced the pattern to 75% am finding more and more challenges in making them, with block four it is the stems, they are so narrow think I may have to machine stitch them all. While I am deciding about this - and the butterflies - have made a start on the padlock and flower.

As I said lots of detail and I don't hand stitch!! Drew the pattern onto my fabric and stitched it out with triple stitch using the zig zag eyelet stitch for the tiny circles and an embroider stitch for the arrowhead. Pencil to colour the inside of the larger circles and reverse applique for the keyhole center.

Couple of attempts for the flower, on the left is my first and I do like it but it is too dark against the other blocks so have gone with the one on the right.

Internal stitching done over stabiliser with variegated thread and soft metallic gold in the center. 
Again reverse applique for central circle.

In position with my vase.

Starting on my leaves now and have to make up my mind about the stems so that I can start stitching.

Have been searching for butterfly fabric the last couple of weeks as wanting to add some to my Secret Garden blocks, 

A friend gave me this one, they are the ones on Luv Shack but also used one for block two instead of the rock in the pattern.

Always knew it needed something in that area but the rock in the pattern just didn't work for me.
Thanks Ellie for the butterfly idea.

The other butterfly comes from a fabric I bought off Trade me and this fabric will give me my butterflies for the rest of my blocks.

Lovely fabric with a wonderful shimmer.

One added so far, wondering about another couple.

Heading back to sewing room now so have a great week every one,

Cheers, Jenny

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Diamond Hill Block Four

Hi everyone,
Couple of weeks have again flown by and now we are in May, never believed it when I was young and being told just wait till you are older time will go so fast, it really does as won't be long and haf of this year will be gone - where did it go!!!
Block four of Diamond Hill was released on the 15th April and I was ready and waiting with my fabrics as was sticking close to the plan I had coloured at the start of this BOM. So glad Esther included this page in a format that you could colour in Paint with the pattern.

As block is opposite of my very bright block two was planning to use the same fabrics plus a bright yellow for the tulip but it didn't end up that way, 

The bright yellow didn't work with my red but this gold orange did.

Center flowers also had a colour change as block two blues and the placement I had planned was just to harsh for these pretty flowers so kept the bright Turquoise and went with Lavender's as the secondary colours.

The lower flower with the same red and pink as block two.

This was a much faster block to make with no narrow daisy petals to stitch around so was only a few days till I could see them all together and this made me relook at the other blocks. 
The leaves of block two just didn't seem to fit in as well as they should. They are the only leaves which aren't from batik fabric and that is probably the reason so decided to colour them up a bit.

Adding colour

Then block one, loved making this first block but after making the others it didn't seem quite as vibrant any longer so it was more stitching for this one. Restitched the yellow centers and central petals with double blanket stitch to make the edges more defined using variegated thread on the pink petals to match with block three, lower petals left untouched.

Happy with flowers now for the leaves

Feather stitch has given them a lift.

All together and am thrilled with how they look.

Now have some time until block four of Secret Garden so Luv Shack is going to get some attention.

Thanks for dropping by,

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

12th April Easter Blessings / Secret Garden

Hi Everyone,
Another couple of weeks have disappeared since I blogged, time definitely waits for no man -- or woman especially one who likes to quilt.
Had a great time making Easter Blessings, Esther's free Easter gift to her group.
From the start I saw the pussy willow as mini easter eggs and had a fat quarter of a multi patterned fabric which I was sure would be perfect - and it was.

Mini Eggs stitched with Metallic Gold thread

Auditioned lots of pinks and yellows for my flowers and did buy a couple of new ones as well that I thought could also work for Secret Garden, for applique I just buy 20cm strips of fabric so for the cost of a metre I end up with five different fabrics.

All stitched and so happy with how it has come out'

Used four different yellows, all fairy frosts for my lilys
Decided to use a machine embroidery stitch for my stamens and added them to my central lily as well.

Triple stitch for Bunny Whiskers.

Last Thursday I found a fabric for my border, put it aside as thought tons of time till Easter then the light came on so to speak, there was only about 10 days to go.
Border fabric was perfect although I hadn't bought quite enough as fabric is directional.
Couldn't just cut strips across the fabric which meant I wasn't able to mitre my corners as planned but it doesn't really matter. Have edge stitched around parts of the applique but have decided not to touch the background at all.

Ready to hang.

Of course the 1st of April was in the last two weeks and on schedule the 3rd block of Secret Garden arrived in my inbox. was so excited as these blocks are so lovely and this one was no exception. Esther is outdoing herself with this mystery BOM,the blocks are so beautiful.
Have no idea how it will end up but having bought and read the book which I couldn't put down just know the result is going to be fabulous.
First thing to tackle was the cat, having just made my rabbit thought this will be so easy but it took three attempts to be happy.

Only used one fabric for the face making the eyes with reverse applique putting a soft green behind then blanket stitched the edges with the face on stabiliser. Used pencils to shade and detail the face, adding a line of brown around the inside of the eye before adding the black with a fine marker then a dot of silver, brightened the green a little and was thrilled with the result.
The pen line is where I planned to cut away my background fabric behind the body, luckily I place the body before I cut and realised I was way off.

Vase was next to positiion and stitch in place. Left the top edge unstitched to place my leaves under.

The leaves caused me a headache initially as started making them two tone but didn't like what I was achieving so went with a single batik, used triple stitch to define the stems then added some yellow to half of each leaf. the number of leaves across the body is why I cut away the background behind my cat.

Are these my colours?
Made one of each flower in the fabrics I was thinking of using to see how they would look.
happy with the purple/yellow, liked the pink though decided not to use that particular flower by the face as felt the outer light pink wasn't right. 
Colours decided I made up all my flowers working with 3 different pinks and fussy cutting my purple/yellow fabric. I like simple so used a slightly different green for the bases and cut them in one piece and stitching them on stabilser.

left one stitched, right one with stitching lines marked.
Stitching done lightly padded them before doing the final stitching into place

Lighter flower moved lower.
Petals on both flowers stitched with toning variegated thread.

All stitched and am so pleased with the result.
But do I need the stamens and circles?

A resounding YES
 So much softer and the angular shape of the flower placement has gone completely. 
Esther you are amazing at knowing what a design needs.

Love seeing the three bocks together.

Back to stitching more hearts on Luv Shack for the next few days, ideal weather for sewing as we are getting the system that was Cyclone Cook moving over us today and tomorrow with heavy rain forecast for the North Island. Whangarei is expected to be on the edge of the system but am feeling so sorry for Edgecombe in the Bay of Plenty. Stop bank failed during last weeks downpours from the tail end of Cyclone Debbie with massive flooding through out the town, now they are expected to get the worst of this weather system as well. Hopefully the repairs will hold.

Linking to Esther's WOW now.

Have a great Easter everyone.
Cheers Jenny

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

WOW 29th March. Easter Blessings

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all having a great week, mine has disappeared so quickly but I have been enjoying myself. Thursday is my day for joining friends for a sit and sew session so last week it was time to make more hearts for Luv Shack and there was room to layout my top and place them ready for stitching.

Pleased I took this photo before starting to stitch as can see one heart that needs to move a little.
My intention was that the hearts would be randomly placed and hopefully when finished and all the little hearts are added it will look random but my brain won't let me work like that, I need them to be precise and balanced so it will be interesting to see what it looks like in the end.
Planned to have a week of stitching the hearts and getting lots further before Esther releases part 3 of Secret Garden on Saturday but some one said the best laid plans of Mice and Men or something like that go astray and they did for me when Esther gave us Easter Blessings on Friday. have all the Easter patterns that Esther has designed over the years but have only made one other, it was also called Easter Blessings and was 2013 project.

Pattern was for a mini quilt and I didn't increase the pattern at all ( was meant to be increased by 200%) so my finished quilt is 9 1/2 inches square and was so much fun to make.
Maybe that is why I couldn't resist another easter project with the same name or maybe it was the delightful Bunny in this years pattern.
Knew I still had some of the velvet type fabric I had used for the bunny last time, found it on Sunday and was underway.

Put together on baking paper over my pattern

The fabric is shaded  so was able to fussy cut my pieces  and used a  piece of silk kimono fabric that is also textured for his legs and face. the ridge that shows I trimmed away after stitching.

Initial stitching on heavy tearaway.

As I was going to pad him/her I did the internal stitching with my bunny on heavy tearaway using a bronze metallic thread. Eye is reverse applique adding the eyelid afterstitching the eye itself, also stitched the right whiskers at this stage.

Padding cut and placed.
Decided not to pad both front legs so the one without padding will appear to be further back when stitched.

Padded and ready for placement.

At guild in Auckland last month there was a collection of furnishing samples being given away and I got some in muted pastels one of which kept tempting me to use it as my background. Was going to be a challenge but decided to go ahead.

Looked like random colours till it was hanging and the flowers became obvious

A soft green Jinny Beyer fabric for my tablecloth and this time I only fused the edges so I can cut away the background fabric. Love the fabric but not sure that I haven't made things more difficult.

 Bunny looks lovely but is my vase too light.

Where I am at this morning.

Seems to be coming together and with there being no pinks or yellows in my background am hoping using those shades for my flowers will make it all work.
Am heading back to sewing room to carry on. would love to know what you think.

Cheers Everyone, Jenny