Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Dancing Waters Quilt

A new quilt is completed - for a special family friend with whom I have shared over 40 years of friendship. It was the birth of Sue's first grandchild in 2010 which motivated me make my first ever quilt, then early in 2016 I made a larger quilt for her third grandchild. Later that year Sue was delighted when I offered to make a quilt for her. We created a shared Pinterest board to gather ideas for colours and style.  The inspiration quilt we settled on was made by Nicole @purlverde on Instagram

There was no hurry and a series of major life events filled my life and also Sue's. A start was made on the quilt last year, amongst wedding preparations for one of our daughters. 

Kona Cottons - mostly 1/4 yard lengths
Stingray in Aquamarine, part of Tula Pink's Zuma fabric collection - a perfect backing. 

Stacks of blocks sorted according to colour intensity
The many 'blocks' which I had sewn were stored away over the long extended holiday season. During our long road trip in October-November we spent a night at Sue's amazing new seaside home on the NSW South Coast. It was so good to envisage exactly where this quilt was destined.

Last month our family settled back into 'normal' routine and our long summer was drawing to a close. It was the perfect time to focus on adding to my pile of blocks and piecing them into a quilt top. The background sounds of waves crashing on our nearby beach made it easy to imagine ocean waters twinkling in the sunlight as I sewed fabric pieces into blocks and blocks into strips. The name Dancing Waters seemed just right!

Hobbs organic cotton batting makes soft and clean middle layer. The organic wavy quilting lines in threads of various colours blend with the fabric and add interest while adding to the water effect.

Last week Tuesday it was finished, including a label and card. The quilt measures approximately 200cm by 190cm, just right for Sue's bed. We took a quick walk down on the beach to capture some photos before carefully boxing and mailing it off the Sue. It looked like it belonged at the seaside, very happily dancing in the wind with the ocean sparkling behind.

Yesterday it arrived at its seaside destination and Sue sent this photo of it already in place, filling her home with ocean colours. A very happy end to this quilt's story - or maybe it's just the beginning....

Friday, July 26, 2019

Country Style Hexies Quilt

Some things make you feel happy just by looking at them - and this quilt is one of those special things for me. Working on my 'Country Style Hexies' quilt has been quite a journey, spanning more than three and a half years as one of my 'occasional projects'. A few days ago I added the last stitches to the edge binding, marking the end of this quilt's making stage. Below is this quilt's story, mostly in photos.

My travel sewing kit (an old chocolate tin) which easily slots in my handbag - perfect for waiting rooms, while out at children's sport etc.

The inspiration behind this quilt is shared here - way back in December 2015. The hexagons are 1 1/2" (length of each side) which is quite a common size and well suited to the scale of these fabrics. I chose to thread baste these hexagons using a little back stitch on the back of each corner fabric fold, which enables the paper templates to be removed without undoing the stitches. Leaving the basting stitches in place helps keep the reverse side neat and sitting flat.

The hexies were stitched together into small manageable blocks which were later sewn into rows, then finally into a whole large panel/piece.

The papers from surrounded hexies have been removed - however papers in the edging hexies are still in place to allow further stitching.

I had thought I would finish at this size above, then I discovered I had a little more fabric of most prints and decided to extend both sides to make a more usable single bed size quilt *.

Above you can see I have temporarily attached narrow strips of the white spotted fabric to the edges of the completed hexagon panel using large machine stitches. I then carefully appliquéd the edges of the panel to the white border strips, using some small dots of soluble glue from a glue pen to keep the points in place while I stitched. After the appliqué was completed I removed the machine stitches.

Additional grey borders ready for machine sewing to the edges.

All the quilt layers thread basted together, ready for hand quilting.

I used Gutermann Sulky 12w cotton thread for the hand quilting. This thread is soft like a perle 8 cotton thread, however it is finer and easier to use. I wanted the quilting to be visible and give nice texture, without being bold and detracting from the fabrics. The entire quilt required just over one reel of this thread. 

I use waxed quilting thread, doubled, for hand stitching my bindings onto the quilt back.

The pieced quilt back.

My Country Style Hexies quilt is happily at home in our open living area for now, so I can enjoy catching glimpses of it each day. Seeing all those pretty colours and favourite prints brings joy to my heart, just as they did over the many, many hours, years and life seasons during which I enjoyed cutting, basting, stitching and hand quilting.

* Finished quilt size - 62" x 88" (157cm x 223).

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Making Sense of the Pieces

It's been five months since I last shared -

 "Closure and adventure - endings and new beginnings. We have visited many beaches within an hours drive during August's wonderful winter days, saying goodbyes and seeking hellos...."

Over these months we have said many goodbyes and are finding our hellos. Farewell to my in-law's home (after the huge task of emptying and preparing it for market), which is now safely in the hands of wonderful new owners. 

Following weeks of diligent searching we found a new home which in many ways appears to be tailor made to our needs, particularly in regards to its location. A season of further packing and moving overlapped with preparing our old home for sale. Our large, gracious old home near the river sold very quickly (we accepted an offer the day after it was first advertised). Then there was the final packing, cleaning, moving and donating excess furniture and possessions prior to property settlement last week. Now another family is busily creating memories there.

So much has happened in the 13 months since my mil's sudden passing. We can look back on this season of challenge and change and see God's hand upon circumstances, answered prayer and decisions. 

Our new home is less than an hour's drive from our previous town and only a few minutes drive to a larger regional city. More importantly, we are a 10 minute pleasant walk from the beach, a beach which is beautiful for walking but too dangerous for swimming. My husband's one request was a home where he could walk to the beach, especially as he is now medically retired. The climate is blissfully milder too!

One of our daughters has stayed behind in our previous town. Our younger son heads off to uni in another regional city in a few weeks while I am still homeschooling our youngest three daughters.

You can see much more of the last five months on my Instagram account -  you don't have to join Instagram to view - just click on the little blue square camera logo under my blog profile (top right hand corner). However I wanted to place an update here on my blog to help make sense of all the pieces.

I've swapped river sunsets for ocean sunrises and we are finding our feet one week at a time. Will I keep blogging? I hope so. Instagram is definitely a regular sharing place as the commotion of the last 13 months settles and we begin discover our new normal.

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