Saturday, 29 November 2014

Caturday Wisdom #96

This (box) town ain't big enough for the three of us. Literally. Go away. Ivy and Ralph

Getting the stink-eye from two cats simultaneously is quite the experience - it's hilarious. Any time they get super mad or crow about the woollen mouse they've caught or put their ears backwards or forget to pull their tongues back in their mouths after cleaning is the best. They're so weird and it's my favourite thing about them. 

Announcing - the 2015 Finish Along!

Today I have a super exciting announcement to share with you about the 2015 Finish-Along.

The Finish-Along was originally started back in 2012 by Rhonda at Quilter in the Gap:

FAL button 2

In 2013, Leanne from she can quilt picked up the baton and really ran with it:

she can quilt

And this year the FAL has been run by Katy at The Littlest Thistle:

Finish Along 2014

All three ladies have done an amazing job of making the FAL the fun and motivating event it is now, and I am thrilled to announce that I am taking the reins for 2015!  

After a year of not focussing quite so much on finishes, I have a mountain of works in progress myself, so I'm really looking forward to completing some of my own finishes and helping you find the motivation to tackle yours!

As in previous years, there will be amazing prizes up for grabs, encouragement aplenty, and some great tutorials at the start of every quarter (so you can plan your next round of WIPs, naturally!).
Please feel free to grab my button and spread the word about the 2015 FAL!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

I will be providing more updates as sponsors join the FAL, and you can find all the details on my 2015 Finish-Along page.

In the meantime, hop yourself over to instagram and follow @finishalong - Rhonda is running the instagram account and I believe she's planning a giveaway in the middle of December.

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Friday, 28 November 2014

Black Friday round up

Happy Thanksgiving to my US friends!  Since there's some great shopping to be had at the moment, I thought I'd share some of the awesome sales that my sponsors are having.

First up is Fat Quarter Shop with 25% off everything:

Fabricworm have some great discounts going on too:

Westwood Acres are having their big annual sale too:

Craftsy's classes are all discounted, with nothing over $19.99 (a great deal!):


I thought I'd join the celebrations as well, and am offering my High Tea Quilt Pattern at just half its normal price (US$4 instead of US$8) for this weekend.  You can find it on Craftsy and on Etsy.

I hope everyone, wherever they are, has a great weekend!  I'll be frantically organising my entries for QuiltCon, spending time with my stitchy friends at our guild Christmas lunch, and hopefully getting some quilting in as well.  Plus, if you keep your eyes open, I have an exciting announcement for 2015 coming very very soon!

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Monday, 24 November 2014


I haven't been swapping much this year, but when I saw heaps of my online quilting buddies signing up to the #igminiswap being run on instagram, I couldn't resist.  It's being run by Sandy aka @curly_boy1, and the mailing deadline for international participants (i.e., me) is coming up soon.

igminiswap quilt

This is the mini quilt I've made for my partner.  I wanted to use some of the very special handprinted fabrics I got from Karen Lewis Textiles (formerly Blueberry Park).

igminiswap quilt

This log cabin variation, which uses wide logs and narrow logs (which are half the width of the wide logs), is something I've been wanting to play with as well.  I know my partner likes a low volume background, so it seemed like the perfect way to let the hand printed fabrics shine.

igminiswap quilt

Hopefully this doesn't give the game away, but my swap partner has some mad machine quilting skills, so I decided to take the complete opposite approach and hand quilt this mini.  I've been enjoying hand quilting a larger quilt but it's taking FOREVER, so it was nice to have a quicker hand quilting project!  I used Aurifil 12 weight thread in white (2024) and I love the effect.  I actually bought a box of assorted 12 weight threads (this one) because I see more hand quilting in my future.

igminiswap quilt

I bought a cute "made with love" stamp from Typo a couple of months ago, and I've been waiting for the chance to use it.  I used permanent fabric ink with the stamp and then added my own name and my partner's name (edited out in these photos) with a fabric marker.  The hand-worked blanket stitch is kind of my label signature now.

igminiswap quilt

I had a few scraps left over from cutting the logs for my mini quilt, so I decided to use them to make a cute little pouch to go with the mini.

Scrappy stitching pouch

I'm not sending the threads but they just looked so pretty with the colours of the pouch!

Scrappy stitching pouch 

My partner can use this pouch for whatever she likes.  But, it does fit lots of threads!

Scrappy stitching pouch 

As usual, I used the open wide pouch tutorial, but made a fairly random size (basically the size my scrappy panels came out) and didn't box the corners.  I quilted the pieced exterior to a scrap of batting to give the pouch a bit of body without having to use interfacing (I hate interfacing so much!).

Scrappy stitching pouch

I'm really happy with how this mini turned out, and I enjoyed making it.  I really hope my partner likes it!

Have you been making things to swap lately?

Quilt Stats 
Pattern: I think this is a traditional block, but I did the quilt math myself
Finished Size: 18" by 18"  
Fabric: various low volume fabrics, Pretty Potent Co-ordinating Solids Fat Quarter bundle, printed by Karen Lewis Textiles
Backing: Ephemera
Binding: Print from Lotta Jansdotter's Sylvia line
Pieced and quilted by: me

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Friday, 21 November 2014

Guest post from my friend Anne: all the tote bags!

Hi everyone - my lovely friend Anne is guest-posting today about all the tote bags she has made using my tutorial.

Hi there! Anne here, one of Adrianne’s quilting friends. I am lucky enough to be in a quilting group (the Ratbags) with five lovely ladies, one of who is Adrianne.  

I am writing a guest post today about the tote bags I have now become obsessed with.  I watched as Adrianne made the first bag with cat fabric I brought back from Tokyo for her.  Then another appeared for Helen (another Ratbag) on her birthday.

I too am lucky enough to have a hand made item by Adrianne (a laptop sleeve made for Anne's birthday last year).  We had a quilting retreat in September and I watched as she whipped up a bag, which was used in the tutorial, and I thought maybe I should make one.  

A few weeks later upon visiting Stitchbird I found some perfect striped webbing for handles and my first bag was made.

First tote bag

This Alexander Henry fabric was perfect with these straps.

Then after another trip to Stitchbird, I found some fabric that had to be made into a bag, this time for my lovely Mum who helps me with my gardening.

Mum's bag front Mum's bag back

Then the wife of one of my wonderful staff members made enough lasagna to feed me for a week - that was another excuse to make a bag!

Another tote in progress. This is your fault @adrianneonthewindyside I think I'm addicted too. Thanks again for tutorial #ihaveafabricproblem #ihaveatotebagproblem 

Ester's bag 

Inside Ester's bag

While at Wellington Quilters Guild meeting last Thursday, I saw Helen (another Helen!) who blogs at My Inner Thread carrying a bag that looked familiar.  “Is that an Adrianne tote?” I asked.  “Why yes it is” she replied.

Tote by Helen Bevan who blogs at

Helen made her own straps using the main exterior fabric from the bag.

I have one more tote planned for my non-quilty friend who may or may not like the handmade item.

My next tote

How can you not like something handmade!?  My non-quilty friend just phoned while I was typing this and demanded I come up with an acronym, as she didn’t like being referred to as a “non-quilty friend”!  Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks Anne!  Anne has the most amazing stash and she's very generous with her fabric and her support.  Seeing all these lovely variations on this simple tote really makes me want to make another one for myself!  If you've made one, let me know - I'd love to see it!  Kiwis, don't forget you can get Soft and Stable from Stitchbird now.

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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Purple challenge

Aotearoa Quilters has been running a series of colour-themed 12" by 12" quilt challenges.  They've run a red version, and a blue version, and the most recent is a purple version.  I've finally gotten my act together and produced an entry!

Aotearoa Quilters Purple Challenge

This quilt was really made to allow me to continue my play with striped blocks, created by stitching 1" strips of fabric together, cutting them up, and sewing them back together again. I used a mix of prints and shot cottons in a variety of fairly intense purple shades for this quilt - I was feeling quite literal when I made my fabric selections!

I couldn't resist snapping a photo of the back of my piece before it was quilted.  I think I'll definitely have to do a "wrong sided" quilt someday.

Aotearoa Quilters Purple Challenge 

Here is is finished, and you can see that even the back is purple!  Don't worry, the quilt will be getting a label, I just hadn't stitched one on when I took photos.

You can see I quilted this little mini quite simply, with a grid of straight lines spaced 1/2" apart.  I think it works well for adding texture but not distracting too much from the piecing.  Unusually for me, I thought this quilt cried out for slightly shiny thread, so I used a 30 weight rayon thread that I would usually use for machine appliqué.  It was absolutely fine for quilting, but I did use a Superior Threads 90/14 Titanium top-stitching needle because this quilt is quite thick in places with all the little pieces.

Aotearoa Quilters Purple Challenge

A simple solid slightly brighter purple binding adds a definite frame to the quilt without detracting from its essential purple-ness!  All the entries in the 12" by 12" challenge are hung together, and it looks really effective - I can't wait to see how other people have interpreted the purple theme.  The quilts will be shown at Quilt Symposium in Palmerston North in January 2015.

Have you made a quilt especially for a challenge before?  I rather enjoyed this challenge, and the size means it's not too much of a commitment!

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Monday, 17 November 2014

Echino ruby dress

Phew - it's been a bit quiet around here lately!  Happily, I had a quiet weekend which allowed me to finish a few bits and bobs so I have some things to blog about.

Echino Ruby Dress

Back when I made my first Ruby dress (and my second, in the same weekend...), I bought this Echino fabric from Stitchbird with the idea of making a summer version.  Apart from the lovely print, I really liked this slightly lighter weight linen/cotton blend fabric - I think the linen content makes it drape slightly better than a pure cotton, and it's extra wide as well (yay!).  I pre-washed the fabric and then it sat around for quite a while, until I realised that my day trip to the Auckland Festival of Quilts with my quilting buddies was coming up fast, and that it would be the perfect place to wear a crazy quilty dress! (It was, and it was also an awesome day where I got to hang out with my local quilting girls, and catch up with or meet a bunch of lovely kiwi bloggers who you should really check out, including Rachel, Deb, Julie, Juliet, Leonie, Liz and probably others that I've missed!)

Echino Ruby Dress

I whipped this version up in a day - it really is a super easy make.  I ended up making a size small (the first version I made a size medium, and the second version has a medium yoke and small body pieces), which was definitely a good move in this lighter fabric.  I also added about 4" of length to the body pieces, which, for me, still left the dress above the knee but a bit longer than a mini dress.

Echino Ruby Dress

This is the back view - it's a very comfortable dress and I'm sure I'll get a decent amount of wear out of it in summer when the weather is warmer.  Rae's Ruby Dress and Top pattern is great and I would totally recommend it if you're a quilter wanting to dabble in garment sewing.  I think I'll have to try the top version soon!  And sorry, I know there are no pics of me wearing the dress.  I've been sick lately and I just couldn't summon up the energy to get dressed up and take photos!  I may post pictures at a later date though.

I'll be linking to finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts later in the week!

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Saturday, 15 November 2014

Caturday Wisdom #94

Why you do dis? Mojo
Mojo was set up with some virtual bird watching(/bird hunting) by his owner, I'm not sure who found it more entertaining. 
This weekend I actually get to visit Mojo and poor wee Mila as their owners (one of my co-workers) are hosting a BBQ. I'm going to feed him chicken and put him in my car when I leave pat him. I may not be allowed back.
What are you up to this weekend?

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Caturday Wisdom #93

It's good to get excited by stuff. Even if it's only you. Ralph

It's not easy to get a photo of the cats with a bottle-brush tail!  In general, the fluffy tail occurs only when the cats are in (what we call) weasel-mode, and only interested in running to their favourite hiding place with their bellies on the ground.

It is always interesting to see what will cause a fluffy butt.  This photo makes it look as if I am tormenting Ralph from behind the camera, but actually I just busted him freaking out over how exciting it was to fling that little piece of plastic around the room.  It was extremely exciting.  On the other hand,  I regularly terrify Ivy by wrapping a towel around my wet hair (obviously).

Please share below what weird things make your pet freak out - either with excitement or fear.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

WIP Wednesday - a Year 30 Quilt update

Since I last posted about my Year 30 quilt, I've been working away and making a block every day.  I finished up my experimentation with improv curves (I love them, but not so much in a 4 1/2" square block) and moved on to four patch blocks.  After that, I tried stripes, which I really enjoyed.  There is definitely a crazy striped quilt or two in my near future.

After the week of stripes, I moved on to fussy cutting.  This was convenient, because I was having a very busy week and it let me make some of my blocks out of a simple 4 1/2" square, cut to highlight a feature of the fabric.

I'm really enjoying this process, especially when I don't leave it to the last possible minute to make my block.  My quilt is definitely looking pretty cray-cray - I guess that's the challenge with a slow burning project where you don't plan very much ahead!

If you've just joined me, this quilt is part of a challenge to myself, and I'm making one 4 1/2" square block every day over the course of my 30th year.  You can read more about the challenge here and here.

This is a very long term WIP for me, so I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

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Monday, 3 November 2014

Thinking about sponsorship (again!)

I've been thinking about blog sponsorship again (if you're interested, you can read my initial post on blog sponsorship and my subsequent follow-up).

My thoughts were prompted by a number of things, one being the series Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts is running this month on blog sponsorship - you can read her first post here.  I'll be contributing some thoughts of my own to that series, and I can't wait to see what Alyce's other contributors have to say.

I'm pretty happy with how I've done sponsorship so far.  My goal was to introduce my readers to some of my favourite quilting-related businesses, and I have a great group of sponsors on board who I am proud to associate with.   I also wanted to make sure that I didn't compromise my original content or my own point of view, and I think I've achieved that as well.


Those two goals will still absolutely guide me in making decisions about sponsorship.  I still think it's a shame when sponsored content outweighs genuinely inspirational content, and it's still something that makes me un-follow blogs.  However, this bloggy world of ours is constantly changing.  Even in the short time I've been blogging, things have evolved.  The rise of instagram is one aspect to this, as is people saying blogs are dead (obviously, I don't agree with this, but I do think the role of blogs has changed).

I have asked my sponsors to tell me what they want to get out of a sponsorship arrangement, and what they think is the most effective way to achieve this.

I'm looking to re-vamp my sponsorship arrangements, in a way that is good for my sponsors, and good for my readers. 

I've been thinking about the type of sponsored content that I enjoy, and the type of sponsored content I don't enjoy.

I would really like to know what kinds of sponsored content you enjoy, and what kinds you don't like.  I have a few potential options in mind, but I'd really like to hear what you have to say.  Maybe you've seen something on someone else's blog that you absolutely love.  Maybe you've seen something that just leaves you cold.  Maybe you have a new idea that you wish someone would run with.  Let me know!

Last time I posted about blog sponsorship stuff, I was really delighted with the insightful and considered conversations it generated.  I'd really like to keep the same tone with responses to this post.  If there's a type of sponsored content that you don't like, I'd really appreciate it if you could describe it in a general way, rather than specifying the blog that it appears on.  I personally wouldn't like my blog used as a negative example, and so I don't think it's fair to do that to other bloggers.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me - I really appreciate it.  Thank you also to my sponsors - your support is amazing.

Finally, it's time to announce the winner of the giveaway from my newest sponsor, Southern Fabric.  The random number generator picked comment number 175, which was Sarah from 123Quilts - yay!

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