Saturday, 23 August 2014

Caturday Wisdom #82

Bide your time. Ivy

It's pretty even between the two of them in terms of picking and winning fights. They're just playing here but last week Ralph got a sharp whack on the head for trying to make a move on a piece of bacon Ivy was eating incredibly slowly. He was honestly dumbfounded and it was so funny. Ivy has curious food favourites which so far seem to be limited to egg yolk and toast crumbs (she eventually abandoned the bacon), and not tuna/steak/chicken/ham/everything like Ralph. 

Friday, 22 August 2014

Quick and satisfying quilting

This weekend I had the opportunity to quilt up two little quilt tops made by my friend Lara. She is busy making lots of little quilts and other stitchy things for her sons' school fair, and a mutual friend and I decided to give her a hand.

Little 1930's repro print quilts 

There's really nothing fancy in this quilting - it took all of a couple of hours, but it was oh so satisfying to get done over the course of a day.

Little 1930's repro print quilts 

I'd been lucky enough to get my hands on Camille Roskelley's thread collection for Aurifil, Simplify, (thanks Anne!) and I was delighted to see that the colours went perfectly with the 1930's repro prints that Lara used in the quilt tops. Even more fortunately, the collection included a red thread that almost perfectly matched the solid Lara gave me as backing fabric.

Little 1930's repro print quilts 

I used the orange thread on the front of the quilts, and it blended in nicely while still adding just a little bit of interest.

Little 1930's repro print quilts 

You can see that I stuck with straight lines for the quilting, using very similar but slightly different designs for each quilt.

Little 1930's repro print quilts 

I also found a machine binding method that worked well for me. It's something I've struggled with, because I haven't really been happy with the finish on my machine bindings, especially compared to hand binding. But, it's so much quicker that it was worth persevering with. I want to play around with my new method a couple more times, and all going well I'll be sharing it on the blog after that.

Little 1930's repro print quilts

I also want to say a little something about Aurifil.  Like many in the online quilting world, I followed the discussion about Aurifil's marketing tactics (including online behaviour from its front-man, Alex Veronelli), with interest. I largely agreed with what Florence (aka Flossie Teacakes) had to say, and somewhat (but less so) with Abby Glassenberg's original post.  I also thought that Angela Pingel from Cut to Pieces made some valid points in her post on the topic.

Aurifil's marketing tactics, particularly the #aurigirls instagram campaign, made me uncomfortable enough to stop mentioning Aurifil in my blog posts and tagging #aurifil in my instagram pictures.  I did not, however, stop using Aurifil threads in my sewing machine and my hand stitching needle, because I believe they make great quality thread. I was relieved that I wasn't the only one who felt uncomfortable, and pleased when Aurifil and Alex Veronelli reacted positively by taking down the offending posts, and when Alex posted on Facebook addressing the issue head-on.

I think this topic has been talked about enough, so I'm not really looking to perpetuate the discussion.  However, I would like to publicly acknowledge that while I was disappointed with Aurifil's marketing efforts, I love their thread, and I appreciate the way they listened to the people who raised concerns, and responded positively.  It's certainly the first step to winning back my trust.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Polka Dot Tea Fabrics (and a giveaway)

Today I have a really beautiful giveaway for you from the lovely ladies at Polka Dot Tea Fabrics.

Danielle and Jeanette are the fabric-loving forces behind Polka Dot Tea Fabrics, and they've curated a shop full of interesting Japanese fabrics, beautiful solids and semi-solids, and liberty.  

I'm a member of round 1 of their liberty club (round 2 of the liberty club is still open and I'm so tempted because the fabrics are different to those in round 1...) and I adore the fabrics they've sent through each month so far.

You can buy most of the fabrics that Polka Dot Tea Fabrics stock by the fat quarter (so nice, when a lot of online shops require you to buy a half yard), and they also have smaller bundles of fat eighths and fat sixteenths which are really fantastic for getting a variety of fabrics without breaking the bank.

This bundle, or a version very similar, has found its way into my stash already.

I'm a bit of a solids snob, and the Michael Miller cotton couture solids that the Polka Dot Tea Fabrics girls stock are on my approved list.  I like the look of these roll-ups (5" wide WOF strips in a variety of colours).  

Really, you should go and check out the Polka Dot Tea Fabrics website and blog, and their etsy shop - there's lots of lovely stuff.  

So, onto the giveaway.  I have this bundle of 16 fat-sixteenths of gorgeous Suzuko Koseki fabric to give away to one lucky reader.

There are two ways to enter:
  • follow my blog, and leave a comment here letting me know you do; and
  • follow me (@adrianneonthewindyside) and Polka Dot Tea Fabrics (@polkadotteafabrics) on instagram, and re-post my giveaway image on instagram.
I'll add up the comments on my blog and the number of re-posts on instagram and pick a winner using the random number generator.  The giveaway will close at 8:30 p.m. New Zealand time on Sunday 24 August 2014.  This giveaway is open internationally, but if I can't contact you, you can't win.  Please make sure to leave your email in the comment if you think you might be a no-reply blogger (and check out my tutorial here if you're not sure).

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Full disclosure: Polka Dot Tea Fabrics have provided me with the same bundle I'm giving away in exchange for this giveaway.  That said, all opinions expressed in this post are my own, and all my previous purchases from Polka Dot Tea Fabrics have been on arms' length terms, and I've been very happy with the products and service I've received.  I take reviews and recommendations very seriously and I wouldn't recommend any shop or product here that I wouldn't equally recommend to my friends and family.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Scaled stars (a quilt block tutorial)

 A few weeks ago, I enjoyed making some Scrappy Star blocks using Clover and Violet's awesome tutorial.  I used them in this quilt chunk which now lives with Jess from The Elven Garden.

Anyway, at the time I was doing my block a day July challenge, and I decided to scale down this star block to 6 1/2" so I could use it in my quilt.

This is my 6 1/2" version, liberty on a low volume background.  It's actually a slight variation on Jennie's original block, because it was easier for me to figure out that way.  As a result, my 12" version of this block is slightly different to Jennie's.  (If you're curious, my block is a true nine patch, with all nine patches being squares of the same size.  Jennie's is a variation on a nine patch - there are nine patches which come together to form the block, but they are not all the same size).

Anyway, a couple of people have asked me for my method for making this block and Jennie from Clover and Violet has very kindly agreed to let me link back to her original tutorial, so here are the measurements for a variety of different scaled star block sizes.

12" finished block - cut:

4 - 4 1/2" background fabric squares
1 - 4 1/2" star fabric square
8 - 2 1/2" by 4 1/2" background fabric rectangles
8 - 2 1/2" star fabric squares

9" finished block - cut:

4 - 3 1/2" background fabric squares
1 - 3 1/2" star fabric square
8 - 2" by 3 1/2" background fabric rectangles
8 - 2" star fabric squares

6" finished block - cut:

4 - 2 1/2" background fabric squares
1 - 2 1/2" star fabric square
8 - 1 1/2" by 2 1/2" background fabric rectangles
8 - 1 1/2 star fabric squares

3" finished block (for the truly insane) - cut:

4 - 1 1/2" background fabric squares
1 - 1 1/2" star fabric square
8 - 1" by 1 1/2" background fabric rectangles
8 - 1" star fabric squares

The method for constructing the block is exactly the same as that set out in the original Clover and Violet scrappy stars tutorial.  Once you have made the block it will measure 12 1/2", 9 1/2", 6 1/2" or 3 1/2" as applicable - the finished size above is once the block is stitched into a quilt.

Please let me know if you make a scaled star block using my measurements and Jennie's tutorial - I'd love to know about it (and you're more than welcome to add it to the On the Windy Side Flickr group).

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Saturday, 16 August 2014

Caturday Wisdom #81

Embrace your passions! Even if your passion is garbage. Literally. Ralph

Ralph is in love with this ripped up paper bag. The cats tend not to sit still unless they are in comfort-cat mode (oval-shaped with paws tucked under) but Ralph sat in stealth mode under this bag for ages. I laughed the entire time.