Wednesday, 17 September 2014

.: Nested Churn Dash quilt - my first four blocks :.

I started writing this post on Sunday night - intending to share my third and fourth Nested Churn Dash blocks.  When I went to link to the post sharing my first two blocks, I discovered I hadn't ever written a post about any nested churn dashes at all - what blogging madness!

Sooooo, to recap - about a month ago, I went along (with my friend Tracy) to a Nested Churn Dash class at Patches Indooroopilly, taught by the pattern's designer, the wonderful Jane Davidson - widely known in the quilting + fabric worlds as QuiltJane.  Jane's post about the class is here.

Jane is a lovely person and a fabulous teacher - she is very generous with her time and insights, and just so clever and talented with her designs and fabric choices.  It was an absolute treat to spend time with her and to learn from her.  I'd first met Jane as part of our AusModBee - her block was the amazing paper-pieced Refractatorium, which she designed (her finished quilt is here). 












[I think of this block as 'Hello Jane'!]
Before the class, I pre-cut all my blocks and had them all sorted into labelled snap lock bags.  I also made and trimmed all my HST's.  As I've gone for scrappy churn-dashes, I even had a completely nerdy table written up, of all my fabric choices.  Initially I wrote it up to make sure I wasn't repeatng too many fabrics, and if I did, to make sure they weren't in blocks too close together - but I've since referred to it pretty constantly to make sure I'm sewing the right fabrics into the right blocks.  
[don't say anything ... and I DID consider typing it up ... yes ... ]
I decided early to make all my 'background' fabrics for each church dash low volume, and after much deliberation, decided to use Cotton + Steel's navy arrows for the last-round of the churn dash and for the sashing, so the churn dashes will 'float'.



I am loving Jane's pattern - once all your pieces are cut and in block-piles, it's very quick to sew them up.  I sewed my first two blocks one by one, because I really wanted to see them finished, and I've chain-pieced my third and fourth blocks - so much quicker than making them one by one! 



I was going to mix up all the low-volumes, but I'm now happy that I've kept them the same for each 'round'.



And now blocks five to nine are ready to roll onto the chain-piecing production line. 
 

Happy Wednesday to you all - only three days til the school holidays up here!  Hope your week has been a good one so far. xoxo cat



Sunday, 14 September 2014

.: teeny tiny Ohio Stars times two :.

Happy end-of-weekend to everyone.  I'm just popping in to share the second tiny Ohio Star for Elizabeth, for her month/s in The Wee Bee.  The first star is here


The stars measure around 4 1/2" square - here's a handy ruler for scale.  Gee I wish I could remember where I got the ruler ;-)


The teeny tiny stars are now packaged up with a few little goodies, ready to pop in the post - all the way to Florida! - tomorrow.


And in other weekend-news, Ted had a haircut and came away - as always - with a sequinned bow in his pom-pom hair.  Purple.  Not even a boy-colour.  Though as my husband did say - sequins tend to turn all the colours into girl-colours.  There's a thought to ponder.


Hope your weekend was a good one, whether it involved sewing, sequins or neither.  xoxo cat

Saturday, 13 September 2014

.: Make Modern blog hop! :.

Today is our day on the Make Modern blog hop - hellooooo to you, whether you are a regular or brand new to our little piece of the internet, thanks so much for stopping by.

In case you have not been here before, we are Catherine and Vanita, two good friends from Brisbane, Australia - we live near each other, our kids are friends, our husbands are friends, but our dogs are not friends, so we keep their contact with each other to non-existent.  Vanita is a graphic designer, and Cat is obsessed with sewing.  We both LOVE fabric.  We have a little shop on Etsy, where we sell screen printed and digitally printed fabric panels - for cushions, bags, quilts, framing, whatever you can think of.  

We were thrilled when the lovely Make Modern girls asked us to be part of their launch issue, so we got together over a coffee to come up with a project.  We pretty quickly thought up our placemat panels, which we're calling 'Eat Your Words'.  'Hello You Look Lovely Today' also appears on our business cards, and we think it's a very happy and uplifting way to be greeted - whether on a placemat at your table, or as part of your wrapping when you buy something from our shop.


And we just thought 'Hello Is It Peas You're Looking For" was funny.  We had to explain the Lionel Richie reference to our kids - my oldest said "errrrmmmm Mum, you and Vanita aren't as funny as you think you are" - to which I of course said "are you kidding, we so are, we are hysterical". 



As Make Modern is of course, a fabulous modern quilting magazine (check out the fab little free preview via Issuu here) - we thought we should also magic up a sewing project - something totally new for us.  For the reverse of our placemats in Make Modern (or of course, as a stand alone project), we came up with four words - 'little xo', 'big XO', 'MWAH' and 'YUM' - all very awesome and lovely welcome-to-the-table things to say to yourself, your family and friends.



We've had a chance now to have a good read through the first issue of Make Modern, and let us tell you - it is awesome.  Kristy, Jane and Lara have seriously done such a wonderful job, there are so many fantastic projects, interviews, tips and ideas in the magazine.  It's really awesome that Australia now has its own modern quilting magazine - and it's available to the whole world with just a few clicks!  

When you get a chance, please take a look at the other fabulous bloggers/quilters on the blog hop (I'm so technologically-unfancy that I wasn't sure if I could just cut and paste the blog-list from the MM blog ... so I've just clicked through and looked at every single one of these blogs, so I could copy their addresses for you here ... hours of happy reading ahead for you all, let me tell you): 

1st   September - Make Modern
3rd  September - Kristy at Quiet Play
5th   September - Where Jane Creates
7th   September - Gina at Party of Eight: Our Story
9th   September - Molli Sparkles
11th  September - Juliet at The Tartan Kiwi
13th  September - wahoo - us! - you're here now!
15th  September - Ruth at Ben and Charly's Corner
17th  September - Kelly at Kelliotmagic
19th  September - Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts
21st  September - Serena at Sew Giving
23rd  September - Melissa at Ms Midge
25th  September - Anne at Hudson Valley Quilts

And last thing - lovely Kristy managed to convince us to share pics for Make Modern.  As in - of ourselves.  Unheard of ... we love being secret squirrels online.  But look, here we are, thanks to us ducking over to Vee's house before school one morning, and corralling reluctant children into being our official photographer - the trampoline outside was very heavy competition to being inside photographing the two of us ... 


Thanks again for stopping by!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.  xoxo cat and vee

Thursday, 11 September 2014

.: teeny tiny Ohio Star :.

Just popping in to share a teeny tiny Ohio Star for Elizabeth in our Wee Bee.   Elizabeth asked for Chicopee stars (or fabrics with similar colours to Chicopee), with a low volume background.  She very kindly also emailed us a paper-piecing pattern for the star, as it's TINY - only 4 1/2 "!  

[darn that rogue thread ... do you see it?!]
I'm planning a second star for Elizabeth, hopefully starting tonight, since there's a bit of choice viewing on TV to sew along to. 


Hope your week's been a good one  xoxo cat

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

.: Sew Sisters Bee - blocks for Gina :.

I'm in a new bee - Sew Sisters - it's made up of seven of the girls from our Care Circle of doGoodStitches.  Time constraints and the craziness of life have stopped all of the Care girls from being able to join in.  I was hoping we could be called ANZASS - Australia New Zealand Awesome Sew Sisters ... but everyone's politely ignoring that clearly a-mazing suggestion ... :-)

Merran drew Gina's name out of the hat to be our very first Queen Bee, and Gina asked for Rocky Mountain Puzzle blocks, using the Quilters' Cache pattern.  Gina already has several gorgeous Puzzle blocks from an earlier bee, and also gave us a link to the gorgeous blocks on Amy's blog. 

Gina asked for a low volume background, the same subdued-tone (rather than super-bright-tone) fabric/colour for the rectangle, and also for the triangles.  I'd noticed that Gina likes Denyse Schmidt fabrics, so went through my Denyse stash to try and find not-too-bright prints to use (for the triangles in each block).   I took it as a given that we could fussy-cut the centre square! 


There are Tula Pink bees buzzing around the Cotton + Steel tiger, and Cotton + Steel US state names floating round the Kerchief girl (who I have been thinking of as 'Georgia' ... mmhmmm can you work out why? ...).


There’s a little trick to sewing the rectangle around the centre square - we’re talking a partial seam - but as Merran pointed out on Instagram yesterday, any lingering anxiety about partial seams has been squashed by our conquering the rainbow star last month in our Care Circle!  #takethat


I do love these blocks - Gina's quilt will be gorgeous - and I love her idea of combining blocks from different bees to make one quilt.  

And now it's on to a few tiny Ohio Stars for my Wee Bee blocks - hopefully I'll be sharing those with you before the end of the week.  xoxo cat

Monday, 8 September 2014

.: September doGoodStitches blocks for Leanne :.

I'm nerdishly excited about being able to share my Care Circle doGoodStitches blocks for September already - I ran so late for July and August, I feel like I'm getting back on top of my sewing list at last.   It's ok with me if you're not feeling the excitement, honestly, I totally understand. 

It's Leanne's month, and she chose chose two 12 1/2" star blocks, using white for the background and scrappy colours for the centre squares and HST's.  The centre squares are 3 1/2 ", so they were the perfect reason to cut into my Tula Pink Moonshine deers, bought from TQES.


And I figured some Tula bees, Lizzy House cats, a Robert Kaufman fox and a few Cotton+Steel tigers could join the party in the middle too. 


So that's September done and dusted, and it's only the 8th!  AND I've already sewn bee blocks for Gina, which I'll share tomorrow, and I'm hoping to make a start on (already late) Wee Bee blocks for Elizabeth tonight.  Somebody.  Stop.  Me. 





Hope your week has started well too.  xoxo cat

Sunday, 7 September 2014

.: Indigo-dye class with Cath from Prints Charming! :.

Vee and I had an awesome afternoon yesterday.  We went along to an indigo-dye workshop run by none other than the fabulous Cath from Prints Charming!!  It was such a fun, inspiring and happy afternoon - and it was so wonderful to meet the gorgeous Cath, who we have both admired for so long!

We each took along a white 100% linen tablecloth to get into the indigo-dye action ... here are our finished tablecloths ... (I've nabbed Vee's pic from her instagram feed!) ...




So, back to the start.  How on earth did we create these tablecloths-of-awesome, we hear you wonder, as we have highly sensitive hearing.   Prior to the workshop, we really had no idea what to expect, and were completely fascinated by the process.  Cath showed us all lots of different and beautiful shibori examples - how I wish I had thought to take pics of them all!  

Cath then walked us through the various indigo-dye techniques - including clamping, stitching, wrapping with string, using stones, tiles, pieces of wood, old trampoline coils - the list of things you can use, and results you can come up with, are pretty endless and amazing.  We both loved how you can get really amazing effects without having to be too overly-controlled about the actual technique.

We both like the liked the look of the geometric shapes created by concertina-folding and clamping, so we took our tablecloths and wet them in the clam-shell toddler bath.  We then got busy folding, cutting timber with a hacksaw, clamping, wrapping with string, and just generally getting serious about creating two crazy red hot messes! 



I mean, really, can you believe it?  Here are our hot messes, ready to go into the indigo-dye bath, while we waited patiently with our glasses of bubbles.  Mine's at the top of the pic below, and Vee's is at the bottom.  After taking the pic, Cath suggested that we each add a few more clamps along the edges, to create some random negative spaces (which come up as little white spots/squares in the finished tablecloths) - such a great idea, and we both love the effect they created. 


And here's Cath supervising the indigo-dye-baths - this part of the process is pretty darn technical - we're talking a recipe, water temperature issues and a total love-hate relationship between indigo and oxygen.  We were very grateful for Cath's expertise!   


When our dyed-hot-messes come out of the dye-bath, they were a real yellowy-green colour - which is totally normal!!  After resting for a little while on a laundry-hanger (our hot-messes, not us), we undid the strings and clamps and hung our tablecloths on the line to watch the magic of the green turning to blue - a real hot-mess-to-fabulous transformation.  Here's mine:


And here's Vee's - the geometric shapes and patterns she managed to create were just amazing:


And here's mine this morning, hanging on the line at home, after lots of rinsing.


Pretty awesome, don't you agree?!  Far out we loved it, it was such a fun afternoon, and we are both so happy with our tablecloths!  The workshop was held at Cath's sister's Michelle's house - and it was lovely to meet Michelle, her daughter and also Cath's Mum Margaret.  We also got to meet the lovely Susan from JuMi Creations, who we've known online for quite a while.  And Vee got to meet Gill and Kelly from the Brisbane MQG.  There were some really lovely ladies at the workshop, which added so much to the afternoon.  



Thanks so much Cath, it was such a joy to meet you, we really had a wonderful afternoon, and we loved learning about indigo-dye. We've been totally inspired to have a go ourselves.  We'll see you for another workshop very soon!  xoxo cat and vee




Friday, 5 September 2014

.: the Wee Bee - house block for Elnora :.

The Wee Bee is rolling along - I'm super late with Elnora's block - and good grief, I am not a fan of being late for anything!  Lovely Elnora has been very patient and not hurrying-us-along at all.

Elnora asked for a house block - around 8 inches, I think - with bright colours and a low volume background.  I chose Kristy's Quilters' Cottage and reduced the size a little so it finished at around about the 8 1/2" mark.


I went for a whole lot of fussy cuts, and a mix of low volumes for the background.  And I couldn't resist the Terra Australis kangaroos for the grass.  It's a pretty busy-looking quilters' cottage - there's even a hexagon-quilt hanging on the line outside, though it's kind of hard to make it out amidst all the low-volume crazy!



Even though I was running very late, I really wanted to make Elnora a little house-pouch to send with her house-block.  So I grabbed the Cotton+Steel and Liberty sitting on my cutting table (thank you Pink Castle, TQES and PolkaDotTeaFabrics), and added in a little Terra Australis for the chimney, and some hoarded blue Kei Kerchief girls.  



For the back, I started with the gorgeous 'get a dog' from CeriGwen's awesome 'Good Intentions' design, then an American Jane 'E', and then a little more Liberty, Cotton+Steel, Amy's Risky Business glasses, some Yuwa, and Prints Charming paisley and rainbows from TQES that I pounced on very quickly when I was there earlier this week. 



Inside the pouch are Terra Australis kangaroos and spinning sticks in 'ocean'.


The house-a-thon goodies are now on their way to Elnora at last!


Have a lovely weekend everyone.  Vee and I are off to an indigo dye workshop tomorrow with Cath from Prints Charming! - we are so excited and will try and take a few pics.   xoxo cat


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