Saturday, 31 October 2009

Zigzag front!

Zigzag front!, originally uploaded by soja.

Hmm, I've got to learn/have more patience using Gimp (the photo editing programme) but at least this is a full picture of the front! Taken inside at school so I could use the desks to lay it out on.

I also stayed late so I could use my classroom floor to pin baste Mum's quilt, as I haven't got a big enough space at home, without trying to move a sofa or a bed. I'm not sure if I'm going to get the quilting done this weekend.

I emailed Cotton Patch for advice using their thread, and it's likely I need to use an embroidery or topstitch needle, with a bigger eye. I can't find any locally, not even a jeans/denim needle that might work, so I think I'll wait for the ones I have ordered to arrive. Think it'll save a lot of stress and frustrating if I wait.... ;-)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

After the Fried Green Tomatoes

Chutney and Pickles, originally uploaded by soja.

Well, more like what to do with the rest of the green tomatoes after eating fried and grilled tomatoes for a few days after being given several kilos by a colleague!

I adapted two recipes from The Austrailan Women's Weekly 'The Book of Preserving', like usual. The main adaptations were using white sugar instead of brown and a mixture of vinegars (apple, sherry, white wine, balsamic) instead of brown.

The brown stuff is a double batch of Green Tomato Chutney, I added carrots, smoked sweet paprika, dried juniper berries and ground ginger to the recipe and left out the sultanas and cayenne pepper because I didn't have any, and used a mixture of all the vinegars above as that was everything I had in the kitchen to make it up to 2 litres.

The yellow is Curried Green Tomato Pickles, I added a jar of sliced pickled cucumber, instead of a fresh cucumber, whole dried cayenne chillies, instead of ground, and used apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar.

Oh, and that is a nosey dog behind the jars.

A bit more

zigzag binding, originally uploaded by soja.

I can't find a big enough and bright enough place to take a picture! I was going to try to take it to a park this morning (just to reinforce the idea I'm a crazy English woman to the local population...), but it was overcast. Now it's bright and sunny but I have to go to work. Ah well, here's a bit more of the binding.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Zig-zags zagged

Finished! Bit of a break as I was having trouble quilting this. I think it is partly to do with the thread - it's very thick cotton (30 from Cotton Patch) eventually I got it done with a size 16/100 needle and a new sewing machine (which should be a post all of its' own). I must remember to order some topstitch or quilting needles, perhaps the bigger eye would help with all the thread snapping.

The batteries on the camera are dead. I think I need new rechargeable batteries? How long do they usually last? I suppose mine are between three and two years old.

My favourite bit is the binding. More details and pictures to follow.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Look! Quilt festival!

Amy, of Park City Girl, is hosting another blogger's quilt festival - there are so many quilts to look at already! You can add your own too.

I've only completed three quilts, two just recently, so not sure I have anything to show myself, but I'm enjoying looking at everyone else's work. :-)

Getting there

Getting there, originally uploaded by soja.

I got a little bit more done this morning - and the thread only snapped once! I must be getting better. Though there are a few bits that I know I'm going to back to, unpick and redo, but I wanted to see some progress, so decided to leave that until I'm mostly finished.

I was tempted to free motion the top and bottom thirds and then use the walking foot to quilt lines following the zigzags for the middle third - maybe next time.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


Zig-zags!, originally uploaded by soja.

Four day weekend finished, and another quilt top, I'm about a third of the way through the quilting now. Phew. ;-)

And another bad dark photo, the only space big enough to baste was my no-natural-light hall floor - then the trickiest bit was keeping Lucky and Jaffa off until I was finished. The fabric is the Red Letter Day range by Lizzy House and one fq from Amy Butler (the feathers). I had loved the fabric when I had seen it online, then liked it but felt it wasn't as bright I was expecting when it arrived, then loved it again when I put it against the white cotton.

I had wanted to try seminole quilting this weekend, and had been playing around and thinking of ideas, wondering how to work out how much fabric I'd need for a whole quilt.... when I remembered Amanda Jean had a tutorial for a no-triangle zig-zag quilt (see her blog: CrazyMomQuilts). Amanda doesn't call it seminole, but I think it's the same idea, her quilts are always wonderful, I knew I'd have no problems if I followed her measurements and instructions, so that's what I did.

I cut my blocks a fraction smaller, 5.25"(instead of 5.5"), just to make sure the quilt top wouldn't end up too big for the wadding I had, and just in case my sewing and cutting weren't as accurate as they should be. Hmm, the cutting was the most time consuming boring bit. This top has ended up about 38 x 58" I think. It is my biggest quilt so far (Mum's quilt is much bigger, but is only a quilt top at the moment).

I'm free motion quilting in a meandering design, with white cotton thread. More photos when I have some light, not sure when I will get to finish it....

Thanks for the comments on the threads for Mum's quilt. I think I might order the tea and candy floss colour-ways and see what they look like in 'real life', I need to order the batting from the same people anyway. Not sure how much thread I'll need - depends how much I unpick I suppose. ;-)

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Any opinions please?!!

I was thinking of machine quilting the top below with one of these variegated threads - but now I'm not sure? I was originally thinking of the candy floss thread, but now I wonder if it is too light. hmm.

I think that I will avoid the solid pink and beige blocks, and hand quilt them with words/designs. I have a beige fabric with a green fern-like pattern on it for the backing - I'm thinking maybe using a plain beige thread in the bobbin?

But, I'm not sure, maybe it would be better to use the same variegated thread in the bobbin so any possible showing through top thread isn't so obvious?

Any advice/opinions? I'd be very grateful for any input.

Finished quilt top

Finished quilt top - unironed, originally uploaded by soja.

Well, I've checked, nobody in my family reads this blog, so I can say that this is going to be a (slightly belated) 60th birthday present for my mum.

She likes bright colours, when I was growing up I remember her wearing a lot of shocking pink and electric blue in the eighties - including matching mascara(!) She has also recently repainted the pink walls of the living room, changing them to white, and bought a new dark brown sofa, so I had planned to either go for brown and autumnal colours or brown and pink, which is what I have chosen. I was looking at some lovely vibrant Kaffe Fossett prints in SusieCraft's Ebay shop, and then saw she had a bundle of Amy Butler fat quarters on sale, and thought the brown and pinks were sort of what I was thinking of.

My parents have a dog and cats that are all over everything, tidiness isn't their thing, so I wanted the quilt to be quite 'busy' so it wouldn't look too grubby too quickly. I think (hope) Mum will like it. I haven't got any fabric for the backing yet, or any wading, so this is as far as I can get with this for a bit. I'm planning to freemotion quilt with some pink/yellow varigated thread, I haven't used it before. The solids are there because I was thinking of using those spaces to maybe hand quilt names or shapes relevant to Mum, maybe family names, dates, or something?

Monday, 5 October 2009

I said it was bright and colourful...

New project!, originally uploaded by soja.

A bit blurry, it's late here and I've got to get to bed (ok, took another pic this morning), but just wanted to record where I was by the end of the weekend. All the blocks (20) are done, and sewn into four strips of five. The border squares are cut out, but not pieced. Should have a finished quilt top by the end of the week....

Then there will be a bit of a pause as I haven't got a big enough piece of wadding, or the backing fabric, thread and binding fabric yet.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Where did the weekend go?!

Phew, school is in full swing again. Bit of a shock to the system. Lucky and Jaffa aren't very keen on me being out of the house most of day - they have both been waiting for me at the door when I get in.

I've started a new quilt - it's going to be very colourful, it's a bit of a late birthday gift for someone special, so I might have to be a little bit cryptic... I'm using lots of Amy Butler fabric for the first time, I got a bundle of 24 fqs on sale from SusieCraft on ebay, and am mixing in a little bit of solids and other fabric.

I also managed to get an almost full size picture of the pinwheel quilt, and make up a little matching onsie (pictured above), so that's listed on Etsy now. I think I'll have to try and improve some of the photos, they seem to come out a little darker/less saturated when I upload them to Etsy? Hmm, same happens when I use the fd's flickr toys mosaic maker. Hmm, better stick to the day job for now!