Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Ocean Waves Quilt - A Finish

Ocean Waves Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Ocean Waves Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Ocean Waves Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Three and a half years in the making, my Ocean Waves quilt is finally finished! Phew, it's a great feeling! The quilt top was completed back in 2016 but then I got stuck on how to quilt it so I popped it in a drawer and forgot all about it. Oops. A couple of weeks ago I pulled out several of my unfinished tops, including this one and posted a photo of them to Instagram. Merran suggested I solve the problem by sending them all away for quilting. Sending them away was not my original plan but it suddenly seemed like a really good idea. I'm super keen to reduce my WIP pile so that I can make a start on something new and free up some storage space, plus there's the fact that quilting is not my favourite step. Great advice, thanks Merran!

I had a large piece of flannel that wasn't quite big enough for the quilt back so I made it up to size with a few random but mostly ocean themed fabrics from my stash and sent the whole lot down to Busy Bee Quilts in Wellington. The quilted top was back within a week. Hooray! It was nearly school holidays by then so I quickly attached a binding and packed it in a suitcase so that I could do the hand-stitching while we were away and, fingers crossed, take some photos of the finished quilt on the West Coast beaches. I whipped through the hand-stitching over two wet days at the start of our holiday, an outright record for me. It may not be my neatest stitching ever but finishing it so quickly had the added bonus of giving us an extra layer to use on the cold nights down south. It was finished just in time to take it to the beach on our first sunny day, right before we left Okarito.

Okarito is a beautiful spot on the West Coast, just out of Franz Joseph. It's tucked away off the main road, bounded by the ocean and a lagoon, with spectacular views of the Southern Alps behind it.  These quilt photos don't do the area justice at all, luckily I have loads of non-quilt photos to share as well. But back to the quilt... this is a big quilt, the flannel makes it heavy and you can probably tell, it was quite windy. My three quilt holders did a great job!

Ocean Waves Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Ocean Waves Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

We also dragged it up the hill on a stunning walk to the Cape Foulwind lighthouse, charmingly named as such by Captain Cook due to the strong winds that blew the Endeavour offshore from this point. It was really windy when we were there too.
Ocean Waves Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Ocean Waves Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Ocean Waves Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

And a few closeup pics taken back at home.
Ocean Waves Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Ocean Waves Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

My three completed quilts from Denyse Schmidt's book "Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration". I can not wait to add to this pile with more quilts from this book (you can read more about my quest to Quilt the Book here).

Denyse Schmidt Modern Quilts Traditional Inspiration by Wooden Spoon Quilts

You want to see more holiday snaps right? Of course you do! 

The first photos were taken at Okarito early in the morning as the sun was coming up over the Southern Alps. Mount Cook is the right most peak, can you spot it hidden behind the clouds? That's the Franz Joseph glacier making its way down the mountains in the middle of the photo. 

Looking north over the lagoon, with the ocean on the left. There's a mist over the ocean that makes the ocean look as though it's rising up above the ground.

View south from the trig above Okarito.

Down on the beach looking back to the mountains. The permanent resident population in Okarito is about 30.

The board walk over the lagoon at the start of the walk up to the trig.

Waves crashing on to a rock at Punakaiki.

The beech forest out of Reefton.

Quilt Stats and Info;

I had loads of help making the blocks for this quilt from...

Kath; @bluebeehive
Leanne; @daisyandjack
Merran; @123bluejumper

Deb; @deb_trail
Melissa; @clothwork

Quilt pattern: Ocean Waves from "Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration" by Denyse SchmidtI increased the block size from 6" to 12".
Quilt Size: 72" x 96". 
Batting: 100% cotton
Binding fabric: two prints from Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman
In my haste and lack of recent experience, I forgot that I prefer to use 2 1/4" strips for binding, and accidentally cut 2 1/2" strips. The wider strips work fine, I just prefer how a skinnier strip looks on the quilt back. I'm hoping that if I note it here I'll remember next time I have a quilt to bind!
Backing Fabric: mostly flannel from Robert Kaufman
Long Arm Quilted by: Busy Bee Quilt Shop
Quilting pattern: Figure 8 pattern by Anita Shackleford
Previous blog posts on this quilt:
here: "Quilt The Book"
and here: "Quilt the Book [Progress #1]"

Woohoo, it's time to work on another quilt!

Friday, 28 September 2018

Creative Energy

For the last year or two my creative energy has been missing in action. Which was fine with me. I didn't miss sewing.  Whenever I did think about sewing, I mostly marvelled at how I ever found time to sew at all.

It didn't help that all my sewing things had to move out of our spare room a while back. With nowhere to store everything, the whole lot sat in a big pile in our bedroom, untouched and uninspiring.  We built a storage unit in our living area but I just couldn't find the enthusiasm to sort and move it all.

In the meantime my energy was diverted elsewhere. Mainly I focussed on being a mum. In February some wonderful friends and I completed our first adventure race, we loved it so much we're now training for a second race at the end of October. And we've completed loads of projects around the house. All that, and a stint at full time work, completely zapped my creative energy.  Until a couple of months ago.

I started chipping away at the seemingly mammoth job of sorting and moving all my sewing "stuff". It took a while but it's now (almost) all behind closed doors in our living room where I can easily get things out and put them away again (or not). I suddenly feel like sewing again. Funny how a good clean-out can reenergise. And boy do I feel reenergised! I have so many plans swirling around in my head. I need to remember to balance creative time with everything else that's important to me (family, friends, exercise, coffee and remembering to cook dinner) so I may not sew at quite the same rate that I used to. But I'm hoping to make sewing a regular occurrence again.

I'm also keen to finish off a few WIPs. And I'm really inspired to get back to my Quilt the Book project (where I make all the quilts in Denyse Schmidt's second book, sneak peek of one of the quilts above). And of course, start some new projects.

Being part of this creative community is really inspiring and definitely something I've missed and want to get back to. Posting my first image to Instagram in nearly a year was quite nerve-racking, I shouldn't have worried, I was blown away by the support I received. All this to say, thanks so much for sticking around, it means a lot to me! And now I had better get started on cooking dinner!

Have you ever lost your creative energy for an extended period of time? 
How did you get it back? Did you get it back? 
Did you take a step back and wait like I did or were you more proactive? I'd love to hear!

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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Widow Tutorial: Block 99 in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew-Along

It's been so long since I did any sewing that I had to literally dust off my sewing machine and cutting mat to prepare this tutorial today! I didn't plan to take such a long break from my sewing machine, but I've enjoyed spending time in the garden, catching up with family and friends and all those end of year summer activities that make this such a busy time of year. I also had a lovely trip to Wellington back in October, I gave a talk at the Capital Quilters Guild which was a big challenge and a lot of fun! I'm guessing I won't do a lot of sewing or blogging over summer but I'll definitely be back sometime in the New Year.
In the meantime, today is my last stop on the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew-along. It's block 99, Widow, the last block in the book (but not quite the last block in the sew-along).  I'm using a mixture of techniques for this block; freezer paper templates as cutting guides, strip piecing and foundation paper piecing. 

Choosing fabrics;

In keeping with the original version, I've chosen a light (Cotton and Steel pink), medium (Art Gallery brown) and dark (Cotton and Steel blue) fabric. The pieces in this block are small so I've chosen small prints for the blue and brown fabrics, the pink fabric has a larger print but I like the quirkiness the birds add.

You'll need;

  • Usual sewing requirements
  • Freezer paper; available in supermarkets in America. In other parts of the world, look for it in your local quilt store. If you're in Australia or New Zealand your local Spotlight should stock it, it's also available on Amazon. This is what the box looks like;

  • A stapler and/or washi tape.

Step 1: Print the paper piecing pattern for block 99

The paper piecing pattern for Widow can be found on the CD at the back of your Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt book. Make sure that your templates have printed at 100% by measuring the 1" line included on the page.

Step 2: Create freezer paper templates for the middle square

For more information on creating the templates see my previous tutorial No Ripping Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial Part One.
  • Cut a piece of freezer paper large enough to cover the template pieces J and K with room to spare. We'll reuse the K template to piece section I so there's no need to create a separate template for I.
  • Place the piece of freezer paper (matt side up) behind the pattern print out, making sure that the freezer paper covers section J and K.
  • Staple through the two layers (pattern on top) to hold the freezer paper in place (see photo below). 
  • Sew along the solid template lines with the needle on your sewing machine (remove the thread, you may also like to use an old needle).  Note there is no need to sew along the 1/4" dashed  line as we'll add the seam allowance in the next step.
  • Remove the staples.
  • Using your rotary cutter and ruler add the 1/4" seam allowance to your freezer paper templates by cutting 1/4" beyond the perforated line.
  • Mark the templates with L (light), M (medium), and D (dark) to show which fabric goes where, see photo below.
  • Your templates are ready, rethread your machine.

Step 3: Cut fabric for centre square

When foundation paper piecing always cut your fabric larger than required so that you can trim back later. I hate wasting fabric so I always cut my pieces as small as I can, if you prefer more wriggle room, feel free to cut your pieces slightly larger.

  • Light fabric (pink); cut four rectangles 2" x 1 1/4"
  • Medium fabric (brown); cut two 2" squares and cross cut to yield four triangles
  • Dark fabric (blue); cut one 1 1/2" square

Step 4: Piece the centre square

A. Prepare to sew the first seam

  • Because each section only has three pieces of fabric, it really doesn't matter which piece you start with. I've chosen to start in the middle. Iron the centre fabric for each template, wrong side down, to the shiny (sticky) side of your freezer paper templates. Position fabric so that it covers the template and allows 1/4" seam allowance (see below), if you have directional fabric you may like to take note of the direction.

  • Fold the template back along the first seam line, it doesn't matter which side (left or right). Trim excess fabric from that edge so that there is a 1/4" seam allowance beyond the fold seam line. I use my rotary cutter and ruler for this step but you could also use scissors.

  • Line up the next piece of fabric with this cut edge (right sides together). See below.

B: Sew first seam

  • Keep the freezer paper folded back along the seam line.
  • Sew your stitches as close as you can get to the paper without sewing through the paper. Use your normal stitch length.
  • If you do sew through the paper, don't worry, just gently pull the freezer paper away from the stitches before the next step (yes, I've done this many times!).

  • Unfold the template

  • Iron fabric to the freezer paper as shown below.

C: Sew second seam

  • Fold template back along the next seam line and trim seam allowance to 1/4" as shown below. 

  • With right sides together, line up the next piece of fabric with the seam line and again, sew as close as you can get to the paper without sewing through the paper.

D: Finish each section

  • Unfold the template and iron fabric to the freezer paper.

  • Trim excess fabric from all edges, using the freezer paper as a guide.

  • Gently remove freezer paper by peeling away from fabric.
  • At this point I flipped the direction the centre seam was pressed on the middle piece so that it would nest with the outside pieces when sewn together.
  • Repeat the process for section I, reusing the section K template.

E: Complete Centre Square

Once you've finished the three sections, sew them together to complete the centre square.

Step 5: Create freezer paper templates as cutting guides

A. Create freezer paper templates to help cut the strips

Because the pieces for the remaining sections are not easily measured on an inch ruler, I created templates using freezer paper. It's really easy to do, just place your freezer paper over the pattern print out, and using your ruler and rotary cutter, cut the freezer paper along the solid lines of one of the long sections in the pattern (you'll cut right through the pattern paper, but that's ok because we're not using it again). Use a loop or two of washi tape to hold the freezer paper in place. Your freezer paper strip needs to be about 10" long.

B. Create a freezer paper template for cross cutting the strips

Use the same technique as above, but this time include the seam allowance in the width, cut a strip of freezer paper 2 1/2" long. This template will be used in Step 8 below.

Step 6: Cut strips

Using the template created in 5A above, iron the template strip on to your fabric and cut fabric adding the 1/4" seam allowance to the top and bottom of the template. Reuse the template until cutting is complete. Cut:
  • Dark fabric (blue); one strip 11", two strips 10"
  • Medium fabric (brown); one strip 10", two strips 5"
  • Light fabric (pink); two strips 11" each, one strip 5" 

Step 7: Strip piece

  • Lay out your fabrics as below and sew each section together.

Step 8: Cross cut strips

  • Using the template created in 5B above, iron it to the top strip (10" dark/med/dark) and use it as a guide to cross cut your strip (see photo below). This section will yield eight pieces. 
  • Repeat the process for the short section (5" med/light/med), this section will yield four pieces.

  • Cross cut the remaining section (11" light/dark/light), to yield four 2 1/2" squares.

Step 9: Piece corner sections

  • Lay out the three strips that make up each of the corner squares and sew together.

Step 10: Piece the block

  • Lay out the nine squares and piece in rows. Not like this! Oops! 

That's better!

  • Piece the three rows together.

Hooray you're done!

For more information on piecing this block head over to Angie's tutorial here and Marti Mitchell's tutorial here (Marti has a giveaway running on her blogpost!). Below are the blogposts coming up before Christmas...
13/12/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell - Block 96
15/12/2016: Peta @ She Quilts A Lot
20/12/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell - Block 84
22/12/2016: Cat @
Cat & Vee

Friday, 14 October 2016

Marti Michell Mini Quilt Mania ~ A Tree Quilt Tutorial

A Pine Tree quilt in an old quilt book* caught my eye when I was looking for inspiration for this project.  I can't say I've noticed too many Pine Tree quilts around, although I did remember seeing this gorgeous Pine Tree block by Amanda from HeyPorkChop. I love Amanda's projects!  I didn't have to look very hard to find loads more Pine Tree quilts online (pop over to my Vintage and Traditional Quilt board on Pinterest to see a few of them). There are so many variations on this block, mainly in the number of 'branches' and the size and shape of the trunk. So I've come up with my own Pine Tree variation. It's based on a five-patch 6" block and is made using Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates Set S. For my mini quilt I made four tree blocks (one for each season) and set them on-point with narrow sashing.  I'm sharing the instructions for this mini today as part of the Marti Michell Mini Quilt Mania organised by Angie@GnomeAngel.  Pop over to Angie's blogpost for all the details, including how to participate (there are prizes!).

My finished mini is 18 3/8", with optional instructions to add a border and increase the size to 20 3/8". Feel free to modify as you wish; you could use four or five of your favourite 6" blocks and follow my setting instructions, or make just one tree block and pop it on a pouch.

* The book I was reading is 'American Quilts and How to Make Them' by Carter Houck and Myron Miller (1974).

So let's get started...

What You'll Need;

Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates Set S (you'll use three of the four templates from this set; S98, S99 and S100)

Fabric for;

  • the tree (I used two or three fabrics for each tree, use as many as you like!)
  • the block background (I used a low volume fabric for each block)
  • the trunk 
  • sashing (I chose a black Cotton and Steel print)
  • setting squares, triangles and cornerstones (I used a Robert Kaufman linen in Ivory)
  • border fabric (optional)
And all the usual sewing requirements.

To make the 6" tree block;

Cutting Instructions;

Tree fabric one;

  • four triangles using template S100, 
  • six squares using template S99

Tree fabric two;

  • six triangles using template S100,
  • four squares using template S99

Block background fabric;

  • ten triangles using template S100
  • one square using templates S99
  • one ~3 1/2" square, cut once on the diagonal to yield two triangles

Trunk fabric;

  • one triangle using template S100
  • one 1"x5" strip

Piecing Instructions;

Step One;

Lay out your pieces as below;

Step Two;

Start by sewing the ten half square triangles together. Iron seams open. Return your HSTs to the layout as shown below.

Step Three;

Sew rows together (note there are three 5-piece rows and two 3-piece rows, the trunk section will be pieced later). Press seams open.

Step Four;

Sew the two sections together as below.  I used pins at this step. Press seams open.

Step Five;

Piece the trunk section...
Centre the trunk strip between the two background triangles and sew. These are the only seams I didn't press open, instead I pressed the background fabric towards the trunk strip to give the trunk a little bulk.

This piece is now ready to be trimmed to size. Template S98 is perfect for this, line the template up so that the angled edge is aligned with the trunk edge, as below.

Now trim the right hand edge with your rotary cutter (sorry if you're left handed!!). The trimmed piece is shown below.

Turn the section around so that the newly trimmed edge is at the bottom. Line up one of the marked square lines on the ruler with the straight bottom edge and trim the right edge (see below). We now have two straight edges with the trunk running through the corner. The trimmed piece is shown below.

Trim the remaining two edges by matching the line marked X on your ruler with a straight edge on the block. Trim the right hand edge by cutting then sliding the ruler up the block. Repeat for the last side.

Now trim the top of the tree trunk by matching the left and top edges on the S98 template with the left and top edges on the block as below. Trim the corner.

Sew the trunk fabric triangle on to the corner to complete this section.

Step Six;

Nearly there!
Piece the two bottom sections together.

Now sew the bottom section to the top section.

The finished block!
 If you're making the mini, you'll need four tree blocks.

Piece the Quilt Top;

Cutting Instructions;

Background fabric;

  • one 6 1/2" square for the centre
  • two 6 7/8" squares cross cut once on the diagonal to yield four side setting triangles.
  • one 7 1/4" square cross cut twice on the diagonal to yield four corner setting triangles
  • four 1" squares for cornerstones
  • four 1 3/8" squares cross cut once on the diagonal to yield 8 triangles, for the cornerstones on the edge of the quilt
  • two 1 1/2" x WOF strips for a border (optional), two strips 18 7/8", two strips 20 7/8"

Sashing Fabric;

  • sixteen 6 1/2" x 1" strips

Piecing Instructions;

The quilt top is pieced in diagonal rows as shown above. I pressed all seams towards the black sashing fabric. Once all the rows have been pieced, sew rows together, use the cornerstones in the sashing to match each section. When attaching the top right and bottom left corners to the sashing, fold both the triangle and the sashing section in half and match these folds to centre each piece.

Optional border; sew the two 18 7/8"  border strips to left and right sides then sew the two 20 7/8" strips to the top and bottom.

Finished size without borders is 18 3/8". Finished size with borders is 20 3/8".

Quilt and finish as desired! I'm still thinking about how to finish mine!!

Pop over to these blogs for more fun ways to use your Marti Michell templates...

12 August ~ Angie Wilson ~ http://www.gnomeangel.com
19 August ~ Tonya Grant ~ http://thecraftymummy.com
26 August ~ Lucy Brennan ~ http://www.charmaboutyou.com
2 September ~ Kirsty ~ http://www.bonjourquilts.com
9 September ~ Catherine Demack ~ http://catandvee.blogspot.com
16 September ~ Natalie ~ http://ouvragesdenat.com/blog/
23 September ~ Alyce Blyth ~ http://www.blossomheartquilts.com
30 September ~ Peta Pearce ~ http://shequiltsalot.com
14 October - Rachel McCormack ~ http://woodenspoonquilts.blogspot.com
28 October ~ Lisa Johnson ~ http://intheboondocks.blogspot.com
4 November ~ Marti Michell ~ http://frommartimichell.blogspot.com

You can also check out #martimichellminiquiltmania on IG.
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