Saturday 31 August 2013

Caturday Wisdom #34

Don't be afraid to say yes to things, but also don't be afraid to say no. Like "No, I will not wake up." Ralph

If you would like to see your cat featured on Caturdays (other pets are also welcome!), flick an email to adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com. Have a restful weekend!

Friday 30 August 2013

Oakshott and Low Volume Plusses Quilt

This quilt has been quite a while in the making (the quilt top was finished way back in April), but it's finally finished.

Low Volume Crosses Quilt 

In photos this quilt looks bright and cheerful.  In person, it's still colourful, but it has such a soft gentle vibe that I really love.  I had initially thought about binding it with an intense colourful stripe, but in the end I went with a white on cream spot which makes for a very subtle binding and maintains the soft look that I really loved.

Low Volume Crosses Quilt 

Because this quilt is pretty big at 80" square, and I knew I wanted the background quilted densely, I had it long-arm quilted by Sue Burnett.  I think my request for different free-motion fillers quilted randomly in the background a la Angela Walters was a bit of a challenge for her because it's not her usual style of quilting, but she did splendidly.  Sue used three different designs on this quilt - these are ovals of different sizes.

Low Volume Crosses Quilt 

Swirly swirls.

Low Volume Crosses Quilt 

And my favourite on this quilt, back and forth lines in alternating directions.

Low Volume Crosses Quilt 

The back is a selection of four different low volume fabrics.  I like a nice quilt back!

Low Volume Crosses Quilt

I'm really happy with this quilt.  I didn't make it with anyone in mind, so I guess I'm keeping it!  Can you have too many quilts?

Quilt Stats
Finished Size: Approximately 80" square
Fabric: Oakshotts Sunrise bundle plus many many low volume designer fabrics 
Backing: Faux Bois in White from the Les Amis collection, Sea Birds in Poppy from the Bella collection by Lotta Jansdotter, Hiho Silver Pearl Bracelets and Hatchlings in Natural from the Locally Grown line by Creative Thursday
Binding: White on cream spot from Spotlight
Pieced by: me
Quilted by: Sue Burnett.

Linking up with finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts.

This quilt is the fourth of my third quarter goals that I've finished - yay!  I'll be linking up with Leanne at she can quilt at the end of September as part of the 2013 Finish Along.

she can quilt

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Wednesday 28 August 2013

Thinking about blog sponsorship

I've been thinking about something for a while now.  I've talked it over with a few people, and I've come to a few conclusions, but I'd like your thoughts.  You've probably worked it out from the title to this blog post.  I've been thinking about blog sponsorship.

Ivy's been thinking too.
Before I started On the Windy Side, I spent a year or so just reading and following quilt blogs.  It gave me a pretty good feel for what I enjoy in a blog, and what I don't enjoy.  When I started I thought it might be nice if one day I could make quilting more than a hobby. I thought it might be fun to try making quilts for sale - at least that way I could defray the cost of materials. At some point I realised that I was never going to make any money making and selling quilts.  At that point quilting got a lot more fun because I stopped thinking too much about whether other people would like my quilts.  I've realised that I really love the creative part and the freedom to do what I feel like doing at any given time.

Ralph thinks best when he is relaxed...
I still haven't given up on my idea of making quilting more than a hobby though.  I'm at the point where I'm thinking about looking for sponsors for On the Windy Side.   I'd love if my blog could go some way to supporting my fabric habit.  That said, there are a few things that make me hesitate:

- What if no-one wants to sponsor my blog?  That would feel a lot like rejection and rejection sucks.  I'm not fishing for compliments, I'm just being honest.  Writing up that email that says "hi - would you like to sponsor my blog?" is a bit scary.  That's not the biggest issue though.

- Too much sponsored content is a major turn-off for me.  I'm not going to name names but I can think of blogs where the sponsored content far outweighs the "genuine" content.  That's the point at which I hit the un-follow button. I'm sure that I'm not unique in finding too much sponsored content just plain old boring (yes, giveaways are lovely, but I really read blogs for inspiration rather than the chance to win fabric).  I think this can be managed though.

- I tend to keep my blog pretty non-controversial, but I wouldn't want to feel like I can't give my honest opinion on something because it might upset my sponsors.  I guess that's part of the reason I'm putting this post up now.  Potential sponsors be warned - I might say things you don't agree with.  Like this next bit.

- I'm not sure I'm ok with the constant pressure to buy the newest latest fabric right now all the time.  I can't afford to buy every new line that comes out (honestly, who can?), and frankly, I don't always want to (incredibly, I don't love every line of fabric that has ever been produced!).  Do I really want to be part of the consumer cycle?  On the other hand, I really genuinely love fabric.  I get excited about new fabric and I love seeing how other people use it.  When I first started quilting 6 or 7 years ago there weren't many quilting fabrics I did love, and omg it was so amazing to find more and more of them. So maybe this whole consumer cycle thing is not so bad.

- Yes, I put a lot of time and effort into my blog.  But I don't have sponsors right now, and I still write my blog.  If I didn't get any sponsors, I would still keep making stuff and blogging about it.  Does this mean I shouldn't seek out sponsorships?

- The deals behind blog sponsorships seem to be a bit hush-hush.  I mean, that's fair enough, it's commercially sensitive information.  The thing is, normally I'd have some kind of a benchmark for deciding whether an offer is fair.  For this? Nil, nada, zilch.

Modern She Made Received (cat not included!)
I think the cat's out of the bag...

I feel like I'm really laying my cards out on the table with this post.  In one sense it does make me feel pretty vulnerable, but in another way its a bit of protection for me - if a sponsor is willing to partner up with me after this, they must be a good egg.
Let's keep it friendly even if we don't agree.
I really really want to know what you guys think about blog sponsorship.  Is this something you even think about?  I've been wanting to have a conversation about this stuff for a while - I can't believe it only just occurred to me to post about it here!  Seriously, I want your honest opinions here, so chime in even if you don't agree with anything I've said.  One thing though.  Let's keep the discussion constructive and respectful.  Thanks!

Monday 26 August 2013

Sewing Room Swap

This weekend I finished the main item for my ~sewing room swap~ partner.  I'm really quite pleased with how this set of fabric baskets turned out.  Like my prototype a week or so ago, I used the nesting fabric bowls pattern from a cuppa and a catch up (this is the 7" size).

Sewing Room Swap Baskets 

I would describe the central panel of each basket as "free piecing" - I didn't have a pattern or much of a plan in mind when I started, and apart from trimming each panel to the right width, there was not a lot of measuring involved.  It was really quite fun and a liberating way to work.  I learned something too.  If you are going to make free pieced little houses, it works a lot better if you make the roof first and then make the main part of the house to fit the roof, rather than the other way around.

Sewing Room Swap Baskets

I really hope my partner likes these!

Linking up with:

Fresh Poppy Design  Better Off Thread  My Quilt Infatuation

and with Finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts.

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Saturday 24 August 2013

Caturday Wisdom #33

This weeks words of wisdom come from Lucy at Charm About You:

"Always watch your back, danger can come in all sorts of tiny, wobbly shapes and sizes." Amber (closely following by Lois)

If you would like to see your cat featured on Caturdays (other pets are also welcome!), flick an email to adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com.

By the way, HI!  I'm Windrianne's sister*, Jennifer and I've taken over Caturdays.

I sometimes help with the quilt-blog process by making loud rhymes of her name and playing offensive music while she is sewing. I am also frequently forced into hiding from passers-by behind her quilts while she takes photos. The up-side of this arrangement is that it is winter(ish) and I have two quilts on my bed instead of a dusty woollen blanket. And I get to look at all the cats so keep sending Adrianne pictures, even though Ralph and Ivy love the camera, obviously.

Have a great weekend!

*AKA Adrianne @ On the Windy Side

Friday 23 August 2013

Pistols at Dawn Quilt

Woohoo, my Pistols at Dawn Quilt is finished!

Pistols at Dawn Quilt 

In this post I described how most of the blocks were made by the Fallow Group of the Simply Solids Bee.  Thanks ladies!  I love how getting different people to make the blocks adds a level of randomness I would have struggled to achieve on my own.

Pistols at Dawn Quilt 

It's hard to see the quilting on the quilt top in these photos (it shows up a lot more in real life), but I think it's easier to see on the back.  You can see that I've quilted a big X right through the middle of the quilt, and then echoed it at approximately quarter inch intervals.

Pistols at Dawn Quilt 

I've had this backing picked out since I chose the fabrics for the top.  It has many of the same colours and the design really lends itself to being used on a large scale.  There is a join in the backing fabric, but you can hardly see it - I like that.

Pistols at Dawn Quilt

This photo shows the quilting on the front of the quilt much better.  I used a bright orange thread for the quilting - unusually for me it is polyester, but it was the only thread I could find that came in just the right colour.  It manages to blend quite well with all the very different colours in the quilt top.  Below you can see the quilting on the back.

Pistols at Dawn Quilt

I have to admit that this is still not my favourite quilt, but it grew on me during the quilting process and I love the high drama of it.  I also like how it kind of shouldn't work, but it does.  Even the binding, a bright coral orange, totally clashes with the quilt top but also works perfectly.

Quilt Stats
Pattern: random half-square triangles
Finished Size: Approximately 64" by 64"
Fabric: Kona Hibiscus, Amber, Indigo, Lilac, Ice Peach, School Bus and Chinese Red 
Backing: Arabian Castle in Iced Lilac from Lizzy House's Castle Peeps collection
Binding: Kona but I didn't record the colour
Pieced by: The ladies of the Fallow Group of the Simply Solids Bee and me, on my domestic sewing machine
Quilted by: me, on my domestic sewing machine.

Linking up with finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts.

This quilt is the third of my third quarter goals that I've finished - yay!  I'll be linking up with Leanne at she can quilt at the end of September as part of the 2013 Finish Along.

she can quilt
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Wednesday 21 August 2013

WIP Wednesday

So far I'm having a pretty quiet sewing week.  I'm finishing up the binding on this quilt, which I'm really excited to finish.  It's backed in minky which is super soft and snuggly.

Since it's tricky to hand stitch binding to minky, I sewed it onto the back of the quilt first and I'm hand stitching it to the front.  I've used the same black and white dot print that I used for the narrow borders for the binding.  I'm mostly using black thread to blend in with the binding but since the white dots are so large I've left those bits unstitched and I'll go back with white thread and finish them up later.  Is that crazy?

I also got a knitting lesson from my mum this weekend and I've been knitting up a little sample to try and get my stitches right.  It still feels quite awkward but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it eventually.  I've bought yarn for my first project, a scarf.

Have you been trying anything new this week?

Linking up with:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

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Monday 19 August 2013

Planes, Bikes and Cars Quilt

A friend and colleague of mine is expecting his first child soon.  When asked if he and his wife had any requests for the baby's quilt, he told me, quite seriously, that he likes planes and his wife likes trains.  Um, right. Anyway, the plane idea stuck, but I wasn't quite sure how to go about it since the aeroplane themed quilt patterns I'd found weren't really doing it for me.  Then I dropped into a local quilt store to buy thread, and lo and behold they had just gotten the perfect aeroplane print Echino fabric in.  I picked up the car print at the same time and I already had the bike print (also Echino), so after that all I needed to do was add lots of different blues and greens from my stash.

Planes, Cars and Bikes Quilt

I fussy cut the centres and then pieced each log cabin block with logs of slightly different widths, dispensing with the usual light/dark convention to get a really scrappy look.  These were really speedy to make up - I had all the blocks together in about half a day (and happily I have a lot of the strips I used to make the log cabins left over so I think I'll make some more soon).

Planes, Bikes and Cars Quilt 

The back is very simply strip pieced, mostly using fabrics from the quilt top.  I deliberately chose slightly softer colours to give the back a more peaceful vibe than the front.

Planes, Cars and Bikes Quilt 

I quilted this quilt in an all over square spiral pattern.  It looks kind of complicated to do but it really is not.  I used my mother's Bernina Aurora 440QE with the Bernina Stitch Regulator for the quilting. It was a bit strange since I am used to free motion quilting without a stitch regulator, but the back is much neater than I can usually get it and I don't have the little thread bobbles I tend to get when I stop.  I think it also helped me keep control of my quilting so it didn't get ridiculously dense.

The parents-to-be have a totally adorable (and very naughty) miniature dachshund.  I think this little fabric dachshund makes just the cutest quilt label ever! It was also much easier to write neatly on the upholstery weight fabric I used - it didn't move around under my pen as much as quilting cotton.

Planes, Cars and Bikes Quilt

I'm so pleased with how this quilt has come out and I can't wait to give it to this little family.  I think the discovery that making quilt labels can be a lot of fun will encourage me to label more of my quilts (because I always think I should and then don't get around to it!). Do you label your quilts?

Quilt Stats
Pattern: Make it up as you go along scrappy log cabins
Finished Size: Approximately 36" by 42"
Fabric: Assorted designer quilting fabrics including Echino, Tula Pink, Kaffe Fassett, Lizzy House, Michael Miller and Carolyn Friedlander
Backing: Various
Binding: Kaffe Fassett Shot Cotton (makes incredibly soft binding)
Pieced by: Me, on my domestic sewing machine
Quilted by: Me, on my mother's domestic sewing machine, using a stitch regulator.

Linking up with:

Fresh Poppy Design  Better Off Thread  My Quilt Infatuation
and with Finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts.

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Saturday 17 August 2013

Caturday Wisdom #32

"Sharing is caring. But keep one eye open just in case..." Roxy

Roxy (woof) and Jackal (meow) are friends from nearby. Both were rescued from the SPCA, Jackal came along many years after Roxy was on the scene but has quickly taken advantage of Roxy's gentle nature and superior bed. 

If you would like to see your cat featured on Caturdays (other pets are also welcome!), flick an email to adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com. Have a great weekend!

P.S. Some of you (I would imagine mostly fellow Kiwis) might know that a decent earthquake hit central New Zealand yesterday. Thankfully, we suffered no damage (except perhaps to Ralph and Ivy's tail-fluffing instincts).

Friday 16 August 2013

Vintage Flowers Fabric Basket

I've been planning my items for both the Sewing Room Swap and Sew Sew Modern Round 3, and I think I'll end up making both my partners fabric baskets.  Since I haven't made a fabric basket before, I  decided to make a prototype to test out the size and pattern I intended to use.

Fabric basket 

I used the Nesting Fabric Bowls pattern from a cuppa and a catch up, and I think it was definitely worth the cost.  The technique used to make the fabric bowls is not that complicated, but the pattern explains all the steps in great detail, and it includes lots of variations if you want to add handles, pockets, and lots of other good stuff.

Fabric basket 

I am borrowing my friend Anne's Janome while my sewing machine is being serviced and I was tempted by the novelty of fancy stitches to add these to the exterior of my basket.  I think they work really well with the vintage flowers fabric (from Melody Miller's Ruby Star Shining collection and bought at Stitchbird but I'm pretty sure I snagged the last FQ).

Fabric basket 

I lined this basket with one of my favourite fabrics - its an oldie but a goodie from Joel Dewberry's Heirloom line.

Fabric basket

This was a super speedy make (apart from applying the interfacing which always takes me ages - this is a job I would happily delegate to the sewing elves!) and gives a really satisfying result.  I'll be working on my swap baskets this weekend and I can't wait!

Do you have a favourite fabric basket pattern?

Linking up with:

and finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts.

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Tuesday 13 August 2013

Skills swap?

I'm really keen to do a skills exchange with someone who would like to swap a pair of hand knitted socks for a quilted item made by me.

Yarn Pirate - Ozone 

Ideally I would like to swap with someone who is already an experienced sock knitter, who has a pattern they think I might like, and who even has yarn in their stash that would work for this project.


In exchange, I will make a quilted item using fabric from my stash and a design of the other person's choice.  I'm thinking that a quilted pillow/cushion cover or two would be a fair swap for a pair of socks, but I don't really know how long it would take to knit a pair of socks so I'm definitely willing to negotiate on this point.  By the way, I'm using a pillow/cushion cover as an example to show the scale of the project I have in mind - if you wanted to swap something different (for example, a mini quilt, a table runner, a laptop sleeve etc) just let me know.

Noro Striped Socks

I've included the pictures to give a flavour of the types of socks that have caught my eye.  I am by no means set on any of these patterns or yarns, but I can tell from the pictures that caught my eye that I like a bit of interest either in the texture of the knitting or the colour and variegation of the yarn.  I also love these socks, and these and these, all knitted by Amanda at hey porkchop.

Socks Rick

All of the pictures should take you to the flickr page of the maker if you click on them - these are definitely not my own work.

If you are interested in this skills exchange, drop me an email at adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com!


P.S. If you're wondering "why don't you ask your mum to knit you some socks - clearly she has knitting skillz?", I have, and she has agreed to have a go even though she's never knitted socks before. I just thought this would be fun too!