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Wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, great-aunt and friend....and fur-kid mum I love Quilting, stitching, photography, cooking, baking, gardening, blogging and making new friends...stop by and say hi!

Thursday 31 July 2014

NewFO.......or is it?

It is nice to report that I have finished off my NewFO from May (click here if you haven't seen it yet) and I have also been working on my June NewFO (Exploding Blocks) but being involved with these and other projects this month means I didn't give any kind of thought into what I was going to do for July's NewFO until last Saturday morning (5 days till the end of July! ... Oi!)

And then I thought that it was time to get with my inspiration from the 9-Patch Pizzazz book that I had borrowed from my friend Zita earlier this month.  A few of the girls had made lovely quilts inspired from this book and I have been trying to find a copy for myself but it must be out of print as I haven't been able to find it ANYWHERE.  Zita was kind enough to loan me her copy.

There are some lovely projects in this book but I am not going to attempt any of them, instead, call me ambitious, I want adapt it to try and jazz up this attic window Tiger panel that I did earlier this year. It was a last minute decision to join a class and to do this panel and I didn't have anything else planned for it.

This is where you could ask: Is this a NewFO or simply a UFO? Well I am calling it a NewFO as I am using a new idea to turn this neglected panel into something different.

I found some of this lovely forest fabric a while back.  I think it is supposed to be themed on an American forest scene but lets just pretend it is a Forest on the Indian Subcontinent.
I am also using some  yellow and a  green/brown multi-toned batik.

As I was sewing up the strips for the 9 patch, I liked these two fabrics together, but when I crosscut them......I wasn't so sure.......

I have come this far, I might as well finish making the units but how will these go on the quilt?

Actually, they look alot better in real life than they do in the photo but I am not happy. Back to the drawing board....or at least the fabric stash.

When my mum left Australia, about 10 years ago, she gave me her fabric stash and this multi-toned grassland fabric was included.  There is metres of it and I was going to use it as a backing for this project but I think it will work on the front. I am prepared to give it a go.

 strips cut and sewn....actually the colour is more acurate in this pic.

 Here is what I have ended up with so far and I like this so much better.

As I see it, I have two choices here, I can could continue with the forest and add a darker brown  or continue the tan grassland and add a darker green....mmmmmmm! The last option would work well with the idea I have for the outer border.....mmmmmm!

Decision was made and I have finished off the central part of this project.  I want to add another narrow dark brown border before the outer borders but I don't seem to have any dark brown in my stash so this is as far as I have travelled with this quilt.

I love the 9-patch pizzazz book and I love the inspirational result for this quilt.  Without it that tiger panel would have languished forever and a day amongst my orphan blocks.

I am linking up with the NewFO challenge that Barbara hosts at Cat Patches. 
And because I have used a book this month, I am also linking in to Let's Book It which Sharon hosts over at Vrooman Quilts.

And while I am at it don't forget FNWF tomorrow night.....Head over to Gone Stitchin' to sign up.


Tuesday 29 July 2014

Tuesday at my place

I am busy sewing my NewFO project today and hope to finish that post off tomorrow morning ready for posting when Barbara puts up the link.

Because I have nowhere to go today and I want to spend maximum time sewing, I decided to do a slow cooker meal for tonight.  Thinking it was going to be a quick prep was a mistake but I have had fun so decided to share it with you.  I used this recipe and made sure I reminded Hubby to bring some red wine back with him when he ducked out earlier. 

Now, I don't usually cook with wine but I do know that if it ain't worth drinking then it ain't worth cooking with it and probably visa versa so he had strict instructions to get a good middle of the range wine. I also changed the recipe up a bit and added diced celery instead of the extra carrot.  I rather enjoy dicing carrots and celery but onion......not so much!

A few more adjustments I would make if doing this recipe again:  I really didn't need 1/2 a cup of flour to dust the lamb shanks......I would start with 1/4 cup next time.  I was also dubious about adding two tablespoons of sugar to the sauce so I added a bit at a time until I thought the balance was right and it wasn't 2 tablespoons for mine.  The other adjustment I made was out of necessity because I didn't have a bouquet garni so I added a good heap of dried italian herbs instead.

This is the first time this season that the slow cooker has appeared on the counter top but it is all 'blipping' (that's one of my favourite Jamie Oliver words) along very nicely.  I am going to be pulling the meat of the bones and serving it with the sauce over some fresh pappardelle.   

Word got out that this was on the menu tonight so we had a full house at my place for dinner.  It was only when we had all finished that I remembered I was going to take a photo for you.......so, only an empty plate!


Monday 28 July 2014

Snowmen revisited

I have gone back to a BOM that I started nearly two years ago. I don't know why this got put on the backburner but I needed something to take along to my Chat and Sew groups this week and this prepared block was staring straight at me. Pick me! Pick me!

And I am so glad I did......it was suprisingly therapeutic getting back to this BOM and actually I am glad I did take so long because I am using Sue Daley's bottom line thread which I only purchased recently.

This thread is 60wt and so very fine. Perfect for this project.  The stitches are so tiny, they are seemingly invisible.

Of course, because the thread and needle are so fine, I can't do without my Clover needle threader.

Here is my other secret weapon.  They are not scissors, but some kind of surgical clamp.  Some specialist quilt shops sell them so I didn't have to masquerade as a Surgeon to buy them.

The crimped tweezer like ends of these clamps are great for gripping the paper templates so pulling them out after stitching is a breeze.

I don't think it will be difficult to finish this block this week as I just can't put this project down at the moment.

I hope you have had as much fun with needle and thread today!

Today I am linking in to:
Click the pic

Design Wall Monday....Tigers and more

This week I am incorporating this attic window Tiger panel into my NewFO for July.  This is just a sneak peak and if you want to see more then you will have to visit me on Thursday for that post.......the last day of the month.

Of course my exploding block quilt is still on the design board but it will have to take a back seat as I have a bee in my bonnet about getting these Tigers started.

I am also planning to work on another project this week.  This Merry, Merry Snowman block has been prepared and ready to applique for months.....actually, years so I will be taking this along to my chat and sew groups this week .....gotta get it finished.

I have a busy week this week:
Monday is my chat and sew with the Kelly Girls -  Merry, Merry Snowman.
Tuesday should be for chat and sew at Apatchy Quilts but I am without a car so some sewing at home will be on the cards - Tiger Panel
Wednesday is my sewing day with the Sewing Sisters to work on our Mystery Quilts
Thursday is chat and sew at QuiltEssentials- Merry Merry Snowman
Friday I have personal errands to run; and
Saturday I am joining some friends for a sumptious afternoon tea to celebrate a 70th birthday

Thank goodness I gave up my job....who has time to work?

I am linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times

Friday 25 July 2014

I Read This.......About Murder and Mystery

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed reading the last two historical novels, back in May/June, I was ready for a change of pace and this book was just the ticket. END IN TEARS by Ruth Rendell.

The book was being handed back to its owner at my chat and sew group and I was asked if I wanted to read it......OK, why not.

Well, I couldn't put this one down......I just had to get to the end and find out who the killer was and why they did it meaning I finished reading it in about 5 days. That's a new record for me of late.

Rendell has a writing style that is sometimes difficult to follow and I had to reread some bits before it made sense to me. I was a bit disappointed by the conclusion as I found the motive a little bit weak,  but apart from that I really enjoyed the pace of the story and I would read another Inspector Wexford mystery if I come across one. Have you read a Ruth Rendell Novel?

 Now that I am reading again, what shall I read next?...........I can choose between Bernard Cornwall, Ken Follett, James Forrester or another Philipa Gregory.

 ps. the crochet doily was made by my mum way back in her crocheting heyday. She never learned to read a crochet pattern so always used those diagrams that I find impossible to decipher.

Thursday 24 July 2014

Mariners Compass.....The Binding and the Finish

I prepared the binding for this quilt last week and set it aside until I was ready to use it.

 At first, I wondered if I should use one of the blue batik fabrics from the blades to make the binding but decided to use that shimmer effect batik that is in the border and add a dark blue peeper underneath the binding.

How do you make your binding?  Years ago, I was taught to cut my binding strips at a 45 degree angle and sew them together (it was always messy) then some years later I was taught to lay them as below, right sides facing, sew diagonally (across the pins corner to corner) and then cut the excess off.  Works brilliantly every time.  I love how our knowlege grows as we learn new or different techniques.  I am hoping that will be the case with my quilting and it will get better (much better) as time goes by.

I am really pleased with my decision for the binding and love how that peeper looks

I bought some backing for this quilt last week which I found on special at my LQS but it wasn't quite the right colour so I went back to my stash and look at this divine shell pattern that I found.  I would say this piece has been sitting in my stash for close to 15 years. I was so thrilled to find I had more than enough to use as a backing on my Mariners Compass.

And without further ado.......here is the finished product!

Very bright sunlight this morning.......and just look at that dried out lawn!....... hope you can see the quilting ok.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Mariners Compass.....the Quilting

I somehow found the courage to load this quilt and begin quilting it but boy have I had issues.  I just cannot get the bobbin tension right on Ava.  I had a scrap sandwich next to my actual quilt and kept adjusting the tension and testing my stitches on there......and I was happy with them, however, when I moved to my actual quilt, everything just kept going wrong.   This made me very tense and uptight and I had to keep reminding myself to RELAX. 

 I started out with the darker variegated thread but it did not look right so i swapped it for a variegated thread leaning more towards teal. I also changed the quilting plan a little bit.  So the quilting is done but I am not happy with the tension on the back....I will have to work on that some more.

In yesterday's post I outlined my quilting plan. Here's how the quilting actually turned out.

My design for the border stayed essentially the same but instead of doing the swirl in each rectangle, I stretched it out to cover two rectangles at a time.
For the blades, I kept to the swirl on the smaller blades and made a bit of variation for the medium blades and, HOORAH, I kept them going in the right direction all the way around. I stuck with the same design (as planned) in the spaces between the blades.
I tried out a "fern leaf" on the four large central blades and even though they look a bit messy here in this photo, I don't think they look too bad as a whole.

Now, I did have something completely different in mind for these corner bits but at the last minute, I had a look at the planned design and decided I would go with something a bit more freestyle and I am not sorry that I did that.

Tomorrow I will get the binding finished and then I can show you the final result.
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