Thursday, 28 March 2013

WiP Wednesday

My Work in Progress is a quilt for a new baby boy.

It's coming together quite quickly.

I managed to sew the pieces together today and tomorrow hope to make the back and baste it all ready to quilt.

I used Katie's tutorial here: so good to have all the cutting and fabric requirements maths already worked out! It made it so quick- does feel like cheating; but then again, why re-invent the wheel?!

What are you working on?

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 26 March 2013


I managed to get the mats for my sister finished off last Friday. They're not three months late yet! But they will be by the time I deliver them to her in NZ...

Bit of a picture heavy post here-you've been warned!

There are five edge print ones and two from the centre of the print.

The edge print ones are backed with Architextures Text Black print

One of the other two has Madrona Road Charcoal Memoir and one is two thirds/one third, since I didn't have enough of all one fabric -SOML (quoting my teens, with tongue in cheek)! I never seem to know in advance how much I'll use of a particular print. 1/2 yd is my standard purchase of something I like, which is plenty for use in a quilt with other things, but not for a whole project often. Same with the red binding. My sister liked a couple of the reds I had, but I didn't have enough, so ended up buying this one from my LQS.

How much is your standard purchase of a fabric you like, but don't have a particular project in mind? Or don't you buy except for a particular project?!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

My Machine

It's been great reading about people's various machines this week. Since I haven't read of anyone with my machine I thought I'd join the throng.

I got my machine from my lovely parents for my 21st birthday in 1987 (you do the maths)! I think it's identical to my Mum's machine. So that probably helped in the decision making process. It's a Janome SX2122. And I think the older it gets the more I like it! I didn't use it heaps until maybe 10 years ago, tho' come to think of it, I used to make a few simple clothes for myself and I did make lots of baby trousers and dungarees as well as the odd pair of curtains and cot sheets and the like when the kids were little, so perhaps it has had lots of use. I guess it's kind of gone in phases.  Lately though it gets used pretty regularly; mainly for quilty type projects.

It's really the only machine I've ever used. It's pretty simple. It's has 21 stitches, 15 of which I've probably never used. The only thing that has ever given me trouble is the reverse, which used to play up annoyingly. Luckily my LQS is a Janome specialist and the man there fixed it when I had it in for a service. I wished I'd got it sorted years ago, it was one of those things I'd just put up with and couldn't believe how much difference it made to have it working properly! Sometimes the tension has an inexplicable hissy fit, and I get that snarl up underneath thing, (grrrr!) but usually if I rethread it it seems to sort itself out. It's a solid metal machine, which makes it a bit heavier but it is robust.

If I'm FMQing it doesn't like it if the bottom and top threads are different, but the rest of the time it's fine.

Recently when I was in my LQS where they have all the new fancy wancy machines lying in wait, I got the brochure for the Janome MC8200 and 8900. Really, they have a billion features I'd never use.

Mine does everything I want except...
Needle down- to have it stop with the needle down would be most wonderful. But really I only have to press that little red button on the top left there- how hard is that?

More throat/harp space which really would be fantastic

People go on about auto thread cutter and knee lift etc but not having had those I can't see they'd make much difference.

So to buy a new machine worth thousands seems mad when it's really me more than my machine, which limits my quilting ability and my machine does everything I need. More features just means more things to go wrong I reckon, and the weight of that thing is CRAZY!

My machine comes with 7 different feet, but of those I only really use the main foot, zigzag foot and zipper foot. But being a big name brand, I've been able to get new things which fit, so I've bought a FMQ foot, walking foot and a 1/4" foot, over the years, but that's about all.

My creative Dad made me the fantastic perspex sewing table which has been transformative! I posted about that here.

I always sew at the dining room table, which is never rarely, this tidy!  I like being in the thick of things and luckily we have a large table, so it can stay down the end when we eat.

Lately my sewing organisation has been transformed by the purchase of this Ikea Alex drawer set. My cutting mat fits on top and it's on castors so I can wheel it away, either under the end of the table for a quick tidy up 

Or away into this little room next the shelves where I keep my fabric for a proper tidy dining space.

This is my messy and slightly disorganised stash at the moment, as I play with piles of fabric for the next quilt or two.

I used to keep my sewing bits and pieces in this chest which belonged to my grandmother. 

As you can imagine, not ideal, as I rummaged for whatever I needed. But I'm fond of it, as the tapestry was done by my great-grandmother and mended over the years by my grandmother with wool that has faded. I love the history attached to it, even though it's not the most beautiful piece of furniture.

Now I'm much more organised!

One day I'd love a dedicated room where I can leave stuff out, but not too far away; it needs to be in the lively part of the house where I can just pass by and do a bit and have people pop in and out to hang out with me. Sociable sewing where it beckons me and where I can shut the door on the mess!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Slow Work in Progress

I'm slowly working on some table mats for a gift.

My lovely friend Liz kindly passed on this fantastic fabric which she had a generous amount of left after making a skirt. It has a kind of lineny feel, but I think is all cotton. It was just right since my sister liked the black and white idea- with not too much white for the practically minded among us! Bolognese and white table mats? Not so much! I had some others in my stash that my sister admired, but didn't quite have enough, so was on the hunt for something else...

The print doesn't go quite to the edge and I decided to make a feature of that.

I managed to get them cut out and started the quilting at the weekend.
They'll have red binding and text print backs. 

Hope to show you the finished product soon.

I am linking up today both with Slow Bloggers at Knotted Cotton and WiP Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced, coz why not have two for one?!

Friday, 15 March 2013


The temperatures are still in the 30s (the late 80s and 90s for you Fahrenheit people) and I'm over it, but there are encouraging signs that autumn is on its way

Some colour inspiration here!

I have been thinking about a quilt capturing the colours and patterns in gum tree bark which are endlessly fascinating to me. I do have concerns that it might end up looking like camo fabric though?! Still working on that one...

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Festival Time

It's Writers' Week here in Adelaide which is my favourite part of the Festival of the Arts now held annually in March.  I always try to carve out some time to go and hear a huge range of writers speak about their work. It's always hot, but so so worth it. I have made most of 2 days so far, fitted around a bit of work and hope to get there for at least some of tomorrow too, since it's the last day.

Also this week really enjoyed a concert to kick off the Festival- Paul Kelly and Neil Finn- outside by the river- you know- good music, food, fireworks, wine, moonlight, stars and good company- can't believe we considered missing it..!

So there's not been a lot of sewing going on around here, but I did progress towards more organisation on the sewing front by buying and assembling some storage. Now- just to organise sewing stuff inside said storage...

I have managed to sew up this block for Kirsten who has March in the Simply Solids Bee.

We were asked to use our stash in any colours, the only stipulation being to make the background all from one fabric and the plus also from one fabric. It's a fun block to make. Badskirt Amy has put together a tutorial inspired by Setsuko Inawaga. I'm quite keen to try this block in some patterned fabric at some stage.

Hope to get back to some quilting in the next week.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Still Life in the Veges

I do think aubergines are the most beautiful vegetable (fruit)

Should perhaps have washed and polished these to optimise their photogenic selves, or else left the water droplets on them- must try that next time!

I picked the courgettes a little small but wanted to make a ratatouille for dinner tonight and the aubergines were a good size...

We've also had lots of delicious (and sweet) corn and lebanese cucumbers this week, so that was dinner last night with tomatoes (some of ours supplemented with bought ones since ours are still recovering from some insect infestation) to make a Greek salad with a bit of feta. Our capsicums are a bit small, but overall can't believe our vege success! Thanks to my dear friend Liz and energetic son Alfred for all their help getting the vege garden built.

What's growing in your corner of the world?
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