Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Table Runner - Christmas Tree

I received a lovely Christmas tree runner from my's beautiful!!  The photos really don't do it justice, there's gold threads and sparkles throughout.
It really was wonderful to hang it on my wall, instead of on a table, where everyone who came into the house could see it.  I hung it in the living area, beside the fireplace, so there was a Christmas tree in that room too!  The stockings hung on the fireplace (small decorative ones) with a green tablecloth over the fire so it was more like a stand than a fireplace.
Close ups of the big stars and the Christmas tree with presents below.  The Christmas tree has little gold flecks through the fabric.  The star has gold flecks in the red fabric.  There's gold threads throughout the quilting.  The triangles in the centre top, bottom and sides is a poinsettia, very Christmas-y.  So proud to have received this beautiful work of art!

And as a little extra, my partner put in a little mug rug too with cute little bunnies frolicking through pine trees and deer, fox and birds as well.  Perfect for adding a little more Christmas to my side table!

Table Runners - Snowyflakes & Stars

Before Christmas 2015, the Facebook group I'm part of decided to do a table runner swap - you make one and send it to someone, then someone else sends you one.  I'd never made a table runner before, but figured it'd be like a quilt, only longer and narrower?!  On to Pinterest again for ideas....then it struck me, as it was Christmas themed, I'd do stars!

Around the same time we made a lovely Swoon quilt for the leader of our FB group, who had had a few setbacks.  As I'd never made a Swoon block before, I wanted to practice and, with a table runner swap coming up, what better practice block colour scheme than the one I was using for my table runner!?

So, I practiced with the reds, dark green, snowflakes/stars and a paler came out okay, a bit bigger than it was supposed to be for the Swoon block, but that was okay as it was a practice.  Our signature block for the Swoon quilt was called a Wonky Star - perfect again for my table runner.  I set about making four sets of wonky stars for the front and another as my signature block for the back of the table runner.
Signature Wonky Star block

Centre Swoon with dark navy/white stars sashing

The two sets of Wonky Stars for the front

In the end, it all came together quite well, although I was quite nervous and had to make a trip to the local fabric shop to get a bit of advice.  The white sashing between all the blocks was purchased from there and has silver snowflakes all over it, which have a bit of a sparkle to them - after all, what's Christmas without a sparkle??

 The finished product!

Monday, 23 May 2016

Mini Quilts

I'm part of a Facebook group that is all about quilting, sewing and creating.  It's a great group of supportive women, all at different stages in their quilting journies and who are able to offer advice, support and also teach each other about different techniques, etc.  If you'd said to me ten years ago I'd be involved in this sort of group, I'd have laughed at you!  But now, I check that page several times a day, share stuff on it, comment on others posts, it's fabulous!!

Within the group, we had an organised swap of mini quilts - 18" square-ish.  It was the first time I'd ever made something like that, never even considered making anything like that to be honest. 

Thank goodness for Pinterest!!  I was able to search on there for ideas as to what to do.  I settled on a tree with applique leaves that I ironed on using fusible webbing and then sewed very close to the edge with a small straight stitch and my zipper foot.
 I was also able to make the label for the back with my machine's script feature - it has three different styles of writing letters and both capital and lower-case as well as matching numbers.  Very handy as it makes really neat labels! 
I went with the zigzag type binding because it had all the colours I'd used in the leaves and didn't seem too bright that it would detract from the quilt itself.

In return I received a lovely floral mini quilt from my partner with lots of colourful flowers appliqued on the front.  It's really vibrant and bright, using purple batik fabric around the outside.
And, of course the signature label on the back to remind me who I received it from and when.  You can see the batik a bit closer in the second photo too, showing how vibrant it really is and with all the other colours throughout, as is custom of batik fabrics.

Monkeys for Hospice

Also, after quite a long break, I'm getting back into monkey-making, slowly!  I've completed three in the past few weeks - see, slowly.....

I was asked to make two monkeys for two little boys who are going to lose their mother soon.  She's in hospice care with cancer and doesn't have very long to go.  They are going to need something to hug and hold when she's no longer able to and I hope they will like their monkeys.  I tried to make them bright colours, cheerful colours for them.  I don't know the two boys at all, but hopefully they will feel the love in the monkeys when they hold them.

I was donated both sets of socks for each of the monkeys - the red with stars and grey/navy stripes with stars socks are two separate pairs and I have made the reverse monkey before too (with the red body and the striped arms, ears, tail).  The navy/aqua striped socks had a zebra face on the toe, you can just see the ears peeking out below the monkeys chin!
The lovely Lynn donated these socks so I wanted to name the monkey after her.  After a bit of discussion, we decided Lync would be the perfect name for him.  He now has a name tag and also a red ribbon around his neck.

These socks were donated to me by a lady called Jo, as this was for a little boy I chose to add the 'e' to his name, so please meet Joe the monkey.  I still have the other socks from each of the pairs so I will make up another monkey, although with the zebra face it will have to be the striped body again so I might mix it up and change the sock I use for the arms, tail, ears.  I like to make monkeys that are different rather than all the same, makes them more unique for each child!

A Nana's Love - Finished

Finally, after many months and years of waiting, this quilt is finished.  To recap, I started it for my Nana when she was in hospital.  I sewed strips of fabric into blocks, then sewed two blocks together at right angles (on top of each other when one set of strips going horizontal and the other going vertical).  Cut them in half diagonally and that formed a square with the stripes going in different directions from the centre.

Nana passed away on the 9th of May and her funeral was on the 12th, the day before Mother's Day....and the blocks were put away, out of sight.  After a few years I decided I should get them out again.  I don't know what I was sewing back when I made them, but with a bit more knowledge this time around, I realised how crooked they all were!  After squaring them up, adding some white sashing to give your eyes somewhere to rest with the busy-ness of the blocks and sewing on some borders, I finally had a quilt top!  

I sandwiched it with double layer batting and some lovely flannel on the back, took it to the quilter and voila...finished quilt....then, due to a bit more family heartache, I put it away again....out of sight, out of mind.

In April this year I decided I wanted to finish it, it wasn't fair to have this quilt sitting, alone, in the dark, unfinished.  So I chose some navy/white striped fabric for the binding, measured everything up and sewed my binding all ready to attach.  I don't know what happened exactly, but somehow I ended up with about 4 1/2 metres of spare binding!?  Crazy!! 

Now, I am so pleased and proud to say this quilt is finished.  I named it "A Nana's Love", because I want to remember her and her hugs every time I wrap myself in this quilt.  It's bright and cheerful and lovely and warm.  So, Nana, I hope you really like it, I hope you're looking down and that you're pleased with your quilt.  And, when I see you again, I can't wait to get another hug from you, I think I'll hold on forever!!