Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Ocean Waves Quilt - A Finish




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!



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.





And a few closeup pics taken back at home.


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).


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

and;
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



I've been rolling with the ebb and flow of creative energy for the last year or two. And by "ebb and flow", I mostly mean "ebb" and I was ok with that. I didn't really miss sewing. In fact, I mostly wondered how I ever used to find time to sew.

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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