Saturday 30 March 2013

Just a little heads up...

Remember this oven mitt I made my dad for Christmas?

After 3 months of use, it's still going strong!  My mum even bought tea towels with hot pink accents to match (you can tell my dad is a pretty cool guy from the fact he is totally un-phased by all these hot pink items in his kitchen).

And, if you want to learn how to make your very own personalised oven mitt (hot pink entirely optional), you will very soon be able to.

The lovely Leanne from she can quilt is the hostess of the 2013 Finish-A-Long, and, starting 1 April, she is hosting a series of tutorials to celebrate the end of the first quarter of 2013.  My oven mitt tutorial is up on the 2nd of April, and I am really excited about it.  It has downloadable templates people!  The other tutorials Leanne is hosting also look fabulous - I will be reading them with interest!  Check out all the details here!

she can quilt

Equilateral triangle quilt - finished!

I finally finished my brother's equilateral triangle quilt!  I started making it back in September last year, and I blogged about the design process back in October.  I had the quilt top finished by late October, and it has been waiting for me to quilt it ever since.

I was going to finish it for Christmas, but then I didn't.  So I put it on my list of first quarter goals for the 2013 Finish-A-Long.  Then I spent all of January and February NOT quilting this quilt.  So I made it my March goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes.

The quilting and the basting were daunting me, so I had the quilt basted by Sue Burnett, a local long-arm quilter.

Once that was done, it only took me about a week to finish the quilting, using straight lines (very) approximately 1/2" apart.

Now that the binding is hand stitched down and the basting threads have been removed, this quilt is ready for gifting to my brother.  I hope he loves it as much as I do!

By the way, if you are interested in making your very own equilateral triangle quilt, I have a couple of tutorials that might be useful, on how to cut equilateral triangles and how to sew equilateral triangles.

Quilt Stats
Finished Size:  Approximately 87 inches by 84 inches.
Fabric: Assorted cream, grey and taupe solids, assorted cream, grey, mustard, blue, red, brown and taupe prints.
Backing: DS Quilts print from Spotlight.
Binding: Woodgrain print from Joel Dewberry's Aviary 2 line.
Pieced and quilted by: me, on my domestic sewing machine.  Basted by Sue Burnett on her long-arm machine, and basting threads removed by me and my mum (thanks mum!).

This quilt is the fifth of my nine first quarter goals for the 2013 Finish-A-Long - over halfway there!  It is also my March goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes.

she can quilt
My Button

Linking up with:

Plum and June Better Off Thread Fresh Poppy Design

and, of course, Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Saturday Cat Words of Wisdom #12

This week I just had to share this photo of Whiskey, my parents' dog.  He is a poodle cairn terrier cross, and you can tell from his head that he is quite fluffy, but under that fur he is just a little chicken legged creature.  Like most dogs, he loves to roll in filth any chance he gets, so is regularly washed under the spare shower.

"It is highly likely that you will regret letting anyone take photos of you in the shower." Whiskey

Does your pet have something to say? If you would like to see your pet on a future Saturday Cat Words of Wisdom post, send me an email (adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com) with the photo you would like featured, some words (wise, witty, or just plain silly) that relate to the photo, your pet's name, and a link to your blog/flickr stream/website.

Thursday 28 March 2013

Modernista Homemade Swap - Finished!

So I finished up my items for the Modernista Homemade Swap.  This is my first round in this swap, but it is the third round it has been running, and each time the participants make something for a specific room in the home, plus a little extra bonus item.  This round is for the living room, so I made a table runner for my main item, and a zipper pouch in co-ordinating fabrics for the bonus extra.

I had a request via flickr for details on the fabrics and patterns I used, so I thought I would share them here.  Starting with the pouch, I used my favourite pouch tutorial, the open wide zipper pouch from Noodlehead, with a couple of tweaks.

Items for Modernista Homemade

First, I pieced the body of the pouch using scraps from making the table runner.  The little blue and orange squares are 1 1/2" square (2" cut), with a solid grey strip 1/4" wide (3/4" cut) on either side.  Those pieced strips ended up a little longer than the 10" recommended for the open wide zipper pouch, but left it at that length, and  added the charcoal sketch fabric to either side to build the height up to around 7".

Pouch for Modernista Homemade

I pieced the lining of the pouch out of 4" squares, and then trimmed it down to the same size as the outer pieces.  From then, I followed the instructions in the open wide zipper pouch tutorial, except that I did not box the corners.  I like boxed corners on a pouch, but leaving it flat just felt like the right thing to do for this pouch.

Items for Modernista Homemade

I didn't use a pattern for the table runner, but it's pretty simple to put together.  I cut 4" squares of the solid grey (I think it's Freespirit Designer Solid in Slate Grey) and 4" squares of an assortment of blue and orange fabrics (mostly DS Quilts, with a couple of Denyse Schmidt fabrics thrown in there).  I used those to make half square triangles, which I trimmed down to 3 1/2" square - so that the finished half square triangles in the table runner are 3" square.

Table Runner for Modernista Homemade

Creating the chevron design with the half square triangles is pretty simple, and you could definitely expand or reduce this design to fit whatever you're making, from a table runner, to a pillow, to a quilt.

Table Runner for Modernista Homemade

I backed the table runner with a Denyse Schmidt fabric from the re-printed Flea Market Fancy collection.  And yes, that dense dense quilting (sometimes called matchstick quilting) did take ages (each 6" section took about an hour to quilt).  I did learn a couple of tricks while doing it, so will post a tutorial with my thoughts in the next couple of weeks.

So I hope that's helpful - feel free to ask questions in the comments if you have any!

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF.

Wednesday 27 March 2013

WIP Wednesday

This is what I'm working on this week (amongst other things) - hand stitching the binding on to my brother's equilateral triangle quilt.  Because this quilt is so large (about 84" by 87"), I had it basted for me by local long arm quilter Sue Burnett.  It was so nice not to have to spend hours on the floor pin basting this, and I loved not having to take pins out as I was quilting - I consider this totally money well spent.

straight line quilting

The time spent wrestling this quilt through my little machine was worthwhile - I really love the texture that straight line quilting at 1/2" intervals has given this quilt.

Two more sides to go - I can't get wait to get this one finished!

What are you up to this week - and have you ever had a quilt basted by a long arm quilter?

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Giveaway winner!

Time to announce the winner of the giveaway to celebrate my 150th blog post.  Thanks so much to everyone who left a comment - I loved hearing about your machines, and some of you really cracked me up!

I am still working on replying to everyone - I will get there, even if it takes a little while!

Without further ado, the winner is:

Sharmond, you have an email waiting for you - hope you enjoy the fabric!

Finally, because it just seems wrong to have a blog post without a picture, this weekend I visited the botanic gardens for a quilt photo shoot (apparently since photographing my Splashy Stars Quilt, I have lost all shame about taking quilt photos in public places!).

The roses are looking good, despite the drought.

Check out this completely stunning quilting by Sue Burnett on the quilt I was photographing.  I can't wait to show you this quilt - it's finished, photographed, and hopefully I will be able to tell all soon!

This week I am hustling to get a few projects finished for swaps and for the first quarter of the 2013 Finish-A-Long, and also because I have a major itch for new projects which I hope to satisfy over the long Easter weekend.  What are you up to this week?

Saturday 23 March 2013

Saturday Cat Words of Wisdom #11

This week's photo and words come from fellow Kiwi quilt blogger Megan, who blogs at Jaffa Quilts.  Her cat Coco is doing a classic curvy cat pose - very appropriate for the quilt she is sleeping on. 

"Consider using curves when you design - so aesthetically pleasing!" Coco

Does your pet have something to say? If you would like to see your pet on a future Saturday Cat Words of Wisdom post, send me an email (adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com) with the photo you would like featured, some words (wise, witty, or just plain silly) that relate to the photo, your pet's name, and a link to your blog/flickr stream/website.

PS:  don't miss out on my giveaway in celebration of my 150th blog post and the Meet: My Machine Blog Hop!

Friday 22 March 2013

Meet: My Machine! Blog Hop

Hello, hello, and welcome to my stop on the Meet: My Machine! Blog Hop hosted by the lovely duo of Erin at Sew at Home Mummy and Stacey at The Tilted Quilt.  If you are new here, welcome!  Please feel free to take a look around - my machine and I like to keep busy so there is plenty to see.  This is my 150th blog post (I can't believe its been that many!), and to celebrate I am having a giveaway - check out the bottom of this post for details on how to enter.


The Tilted Quilt meet My Machine Linky Party

So I am here to tell you all about my sewing machine.  I have a Bernina 802 Sport that my mum bought new in 1988 (yes, its 25 years old).  It's the machine I learned to sew on, so apart from its actual virtues, it holds great sentimental value for me, and I will never get rid of it.

The Bernina 802 Sport is a slightly obscure machine - I couldn't find out a whole heap about it online.  I did find this nice retro advertisement from the 26 September 1984 edition of the Schenectady Gazette.

The text below the Bernina 802 Sport reads:

"The beginner Bernina - the affordable version of the world's finest sewing machines.  Bringing you many exclusive Bernina features, including a wide range of practical built-in stitches.  Now at never-before prices.  You'll start with the 802 and stay with Bernina for a lifetime!".

Getting technical, this machine doesn't have a huge number of bells and whistles (it has all of 10 different stitches!) but it has all of the really essential features I need in a sewing machine - bearing in mind that I mostly make pieced quilts.  I even made a diagram to prove it!

So, I thought I would share some of the things I like about my sewing machine with you:

 - it is fully mechanical. To my mind, this means there are less things that can go wrong with the machine, and anything that does go wrong can more easily be fixed.

 - it is all metal. This makes for a very sturdy machine.

 - it is nice to sew on. Because my machine is fully mechanical, there is a sort of satisfying smoothness to the way it sews. I have used more modern machines (my mum has a Bernina 440 QE) and while I appreciate all the bells and whistles, there is a tiny lag between pressing the foot pedal and the machine starting up which I don’t have with my machine. It’s kind of hard to explain, but sewing on my machine just feels good!

 - I can buy new accessories for it, even though it’s quite old. This is an advantage of buying a “big name” machine. Bernina is still around and still making new accessories which fit my sewing machine – like the walking foot I use for quilting, and the invisible zipper foot I bought a couple of weeks ago.

 - service agents are everywhere. This is another advantage of having a Bernina sewing machine – it’s such a well known and readily available brand that I feel like I could go just about anywhere and would still be able to get my machine serviced.

 - it is portable. I can easily move my machine around my house, or take it out for classes, sewing meetings or retreats. It’s not light (it weighs 9 kg, or nearly 20 pounds), but it is compact so it’s not too hard to carry around.

 - I can say for sure that you don't need a big fancy sewing machine to make quilts.  Sure, it might make  things easier, and you might be able to do a wider range of things, but it is definitely not necessary.  Part of this blog hop I've really enjoyed has been seeing seeing how many other quilters are working with reasonably basic machines and loving them!

This is not a gratuitous cat photo - he's there for scale...  Also, not at all relevant, but this cat LOVES this chair.  Seriously, he's obsessed.  Like, he sits in the dining room on his own like a weirdo just because of this chair.

I'm not planning to buy a new sewing machine at the moment, but when I do, this is what I will be looking for:

 - large throat space. The Bernina Sport 802 only has a throat space of about 7”, which makes quilting larger quilts a real challenge. It also means I don’t have a lot of space for my right hand when I am free motion quilting, which can make things tricky. A (much) bigger throat space will be the number one must-have for me when I am looking for a new machine.

 - automatic needle down. Ooh boy, I spend a lot of time putting the needle down by winding the hand wheel on my sewing machine. This slows things down and can leave me with jerky stitching when I am working on (wrestling with) a large quilt or free motion quilting. Automatic needle down seems to be fairly standard on good quality new sewing machines, so it will be another must-have for my new machine.

- more speed.  I spend a lot of time pedal to the metal on this machine, and especially for quilting it would be great to have a bit more oomph.

 - knee lift. Being able to lift the presser foot with my knee sounds great – like it would speed up chain piecing and make quilting much easier.

Erin asked if we could show a little bit of our sewing spaces as well.  I do have a spare room in my house that I could theoretically use as a sewing room, but its quite small, a bit dark, and down the end of the house away from the kitchen and the lounge where it feels more homely.  So instead, the spare room is my stash room, and I sew on the dining room table.

This set-up is pretty typical for me, except there is usually WAY more fabric on the table!

I like to have the machine on the right-hand corner of the table so that if I am quilting, the table can take the weight of the quilt on the left.  I put a non-slip mat under my sewing machine (and also under my foot pedal, since I have a wooden floor in the dining room), and it really stops it moving around when I am sewing (yay - nothing worse than trying to free motion quilt and moving the machine around more than your quilt - believe me, I have been there!).

This is more typical - fabric everywhere (there is fabric for at least two, and possibly three quilts in this shot), cats in the way, computer at the ready.

So, this is not just my first blog hop, it is also my 150th blog post!  To celebrate both the blog hop and this crazy number, I am having a giveaway.  Up for grabs are these three fat quarters of Noteworthy by Sweetwater for Moda.

To win, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post.  I'd love to know how you feel about your sewing machine, is it love, is it hate, is it a love/hate relationship?  Followers (existing and new, and however you follow) get a second entry - just leave me a second comment letting me know that you follow.

The giveaway will be open until around 10pm NZ time on Tuesday 26 March 2013, when I will draw a winner using the random number generator at

Thanks so much for stopping by everyone, and good luck!


Wednesday 20 March 2013

WIP Wednesday

I'm working away on several things this week.  First up is this x and + block I made for Kirsten who was Queen Bee for March in our group in the Simply Solids Bee.  It was really simple to sew up - I am definitely going to make more of these.

I've also been working on a small project which for which I'm writing a tutorial.  I just love this fabric!

Finally, I need to get this quilted up for the Modernista Homemade swap - here's hoping my partner likes it (sorry for the crappy photo).

Don't forget, Friday is my stop on the Meet: My Machine! Blog Hop - and, because it will be my 150th blog post, I am having a giveaway to celebrate, so make sure you stop by to hear all about my sewing machine and to be in for a chance to win!

The Tilted Quilt

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday 18 March 2013

Splashy Stars Quilt

On Sunday morning, I got up bright and early.  Under the cover of clouds threatening the first rain we've had in weeks, I set off on a secret mission.  You see, I have been admiring this wall for a while, and thinking that it is the perfect place to photograph a quilt.  But, it's right next to my local supermarket.  The embarrassment factor is high.  However, this quilt, this wall - it was too good to pass up.  (And yes, people did look at me very strangely, but I didn't see anyone I know - win!)

So, as you've probably worked out, I finished my wonky stars quilt (you can see my initial plan for this quilt here and the quilt top before quilting here).

I free motion quilted pebbles and swirls in the blue and green background, so I am calling it Splashy Stars.  Just a little bit of straight line quilting in the white wonky stars helps define them and keep the quilt slightly flatter.

Seriously, isn't this wall great?  It's the side of a cafe, and I have to say, I think the wave and swirling sea is a vast improvement over concrete blocks.

So, this quilt is finished.  I originally made it for my sister's friend's baby boy, who was born (a week or so earlier than expected) last Wednesday.  I'm just not sure what to do with it now though - the FMQ looks good on the front, but the back is a hot mess.  I used a cotton poplin print with the perfect colours (you can catch a glimpse in the second photo above), but it did not agree with free motion quilting.  I'm going to think on how to deal with this issue for a little while - any suggestions (other than ripping out the quilting!) are welcome.

So, I have to know, where is the most embarrassing or strangest place you have taken quilt photos?!

Quilt Stats
Finished Size:  Approximately 40 inches by 49 inches.
Fabric: Assorted blue and green Kona Cottons from Robert Kaufman, FreeSpirit Designer Solid in Arctic White.
Backing: Prints Charming cotton poplin from Spotlight.
Binding: Kaffe Fasset dot.
Pieced and quilted by: me, on my domestic sewing machine.

This quilt is the fourth of my first quarter goals for the 2013 Finish-A-Long - four down, five to go!

she can quilt

Linking up with:

Plum and June Better Off Thread Fresh Poppy Design

and, of course, Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Saturday 16 March 2013

Saturday Cat Words of Wisdom #10

Today I am featuring Lotta, a lovely black smoke tortoiseshell Cornish Rex cat belonging to Joy who blogs at Stitchin' Skilly.  Isn't she amazing looking?!

"What?! You mean you were actually going to quilt this? Suits me just the way it is, thanks." Lotta

Does your pet have something to say? If you would like to see your pet on a future Saturday Cat Words of Wisdom post, send me an email (adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com) with the photo you would like featured, some words (wise, witty, or just plain silly) that relate to the photo, your pet's name, and a link to your blog/flickr stream/website.

Bye bye Google Reader

I'm sure many of you have caught up with the news that Google is getting rid of its Google Reader feature from 1 July 2013.  This is a shame for me, since it is what I had been using to keep up with all the blogs I follow (I'm too embarrassed to say exactly how many this is!).

However, help is at hand.  There are several other websites which will perform a similar feed reader function for you.  I am trying out both Bloglovin and feedly to see which one I prefer.  If anyone has a particular recommendation for a new feed reader, I would love to hear it!

In case you are switching to Bloglovin, here is the link so that you can follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Giveaway winner!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered my Quilting Gallery Blog Hop Giveaway - it was really fun to read all your pouch ideas!

I promised a winner, and now we have one:

Lucky number 42 - MsMidge.  Bold and bright - that is definitely something I can do!

MsMidge, I will be in touch for your details very shortly.