Thursday, September 24, 2015

'Set Free!'

One of the joys of sewing without a set pattern to follow is being open to surprise changes along the way. From the beginning I planned separate my rows of Flying Geese blocks with long strips of the white dots on navy fabric as shown directly above. After all, this would enable all seams to be pressed away from the white, plus there would be no need to aim for perfection of lining up block corners. I also really liked this print, from the same Moody Blues fabric collection - and I had enough of it on hand as I had originally thought of making myself a skirt with it. In fact, I was so sure about this idea that I confidently went ahead and cut six very long two inch wide strips of this fabric.

I carefully laid my rows of geese blocks on our bed (my design space), ready work on arrangement and to place the dotted navy strips between them. I stepped back and stood somewhat mesmerised. Those geese just wanted to mingle and chat together and fly free. There was something very fluid and happy about them, just as they were!

After a few minutes I tried spacing the rows with the dark strips as planned and although there was a sense of beauty and order in this, something even greater had been lost, as if the birds and butterflies were now trapped between two unyielding railway tracks.

I asked others in our family for their opinions - we were all of the same mind. I just had to set those geese/birds/butterflies free! They wanted to sing and fly and talk together, making a beautiful freedom song. So that is what I did. I put the long dark fabric binds away and set them free!

The quilting is another area where change of plans is occurring too. My husband really liked the quilt top prior to final pressing, when the long rows were billowy and distinct. Attempting to capture this I have machine quilted in the ditch along the joins of these long rows. 

I assured my husband more quilting was necessary to adequately secure the quilt, especially as the the batting is 100% organic cotton with no scrim. My original desire to hand quilt would have a place, but I'm using fine traditional waxed quilting thread to keep the impact minimal. I have also reduced the number of planned hand quilted lines to help keep those birds and butterflies free! I am about half way through quilting a single line up the centre of each 8" wide geese block and have also made a start on hand quilting in the ditch horizontal lines between each block.

There is now a wonderful balance of structure and freedom, something I think we need in life too. It seems appropriate to name this quilt 'Set Free!'

Fabric Notes: All the printed fabrics shown above are from Geninne's Moody Blues collection for Cloud 9 Fabrics (some of which are available from Spotlight in Australia and NZ etc). The white is chambray weight cross weave called Limestone from Cloud 9's Cirrus collection of yarn-dyed solids. All these fabrics are GOTS certified organic cotton.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

New Beginning

My husband, holding Miss N as Grace (her twin) sang New Beginning

'New Beginning' had us all in tears! Grace wrote this song early in the year about her father's health struggles, which have greatly effected all our family. During Tuesday's TAFE concert she sang all four of her originals but it was her heart felt introduction and angelic delivery of New Beginning which touched everyone present.

Early Tuesday morning by the river

Thursday's Hail stones, looking like clover flowers.

Rainbow Lorikeet in the Bottlebrush, taken from our back door this afternoon

Our neighbour's Macadamia nut tree in flower

Spring has begun with a mix of sunshine, cool days, rain and even hail! Better than heat and bushfires. I've made good progress on my Moody Blues quilt too - but more about that soon. For now I'm just reflecting on life's journey and appreciating the potential of many a New Beginning.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Life's Adventures

There's something tremendously rewarding as you watch your children grow and mature. This week Master T celebrated his 16th birthday and became the proud owner of a Learner Driver Licence. His siblings gifted him a wallet (to keep his Learner's Licence in) and filled it with some very clever homemade vouchers - and a little cash. His 17 year-old twin sisters are still on their L's as they need 120 hours driving each on their L's. Three Learner drivers...... but we are making good progress now that my husband's health is improving. 

Yesterday brought the 2015 hockey season to an end with three of our daughters (middle photo) on one team in the Women's A grade grand final. They played very well for a young team, losing on the day 2:0. Gracie was a joint recipient of the Junior Coach's award, an unexpected honour. The top photo is the shoot for the front page of yesterday's local paper. The middle pair, husband and wife, were in the A Grade men's and women's grand finals - their respective teams won.

We are exploring a variety of local country roads as we continue to add hours with our Learner drivers. On this afternoon's drive with Gracie we stopped at this point (above and below) and headed back to town. With unstable road and wallabies ahead, we decided to play it safe.

One week ends and another begins, let the adventures continue!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sew Upon Row

The flying geese blocks are all made and the rows are looking beautiful as they hang in the kitchen doorway, dancing in the changing light. One more row to sew together, then trimming threads and pressing will bring this stage to completion. These prints by Genuine are a never ending delight to work with! 

More details of this quilt and fabrics can be found in last week's Beautiful Blues post.  :) 

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

With Sprinklings of Joy and Hope

Pieces of contentment with sprinklings of joy and hope, that sums up last week quite nicely. The sights and sounds of an historic steam train through town always bring an extra excitement. Flowers are blooming more abundantly and the birds singing more sweetly with the beginning of spring. There has been an encouraging improvement in my husband's health with the addition of another medication this week, hopefully a sign of good things to come.

Another SIMPLY MINI Organic Quilt in lovely soft colours is now complete and listed on Etsy

My favourite Moody Blues fabric above is drying in the gentle spring breeze. Bought on a one-day sale at Spotlight yesterday (big happy face)! There was only a handspan of fabric left on their roll after this was measured out for my quilt backing. Perfect timing!

I'm really enjoying watching my younger three daughters choosing and colouring pages. There are so many delightful colouring books available now. I love observing how each one chooses designs and colours according to their personalities. I might just have to join in on the fun too!

Sharing at SkyWatch Friday.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Beautiful Blues

There has been more sewing, pressing and trimming than originally anticipated, for I decided such a beautiful classic deserves to be made into a larger, more versatile, quilt. To date I have completed 121 Flying Geese blocks, which means I must now have 242 offcuts, simultaneously sewn into half square triangles for a future project. 

While cutting extra fabric strips I made an interesting discovery. The Moody Blues* fabrics which I had bought from Spotlight (on a long roll) here in Australia is wider! A full 44" after washing, compared to a scant 42" of the same print manufactured for the US market. The print has the same number of repeats, yet different length, as if the US one shrank (it is sold double folded, on a bolt).

As you can see below, the selvedges have a slightly different finish too and the Spotlight base fabric is a shade lighter and some of the prints are crisper. Both fabrics are certified organic and beautiful.

The plan is to make seven rows of 21 geese blocks, with each row separated by a narrow strip of the dotted fabric above. I'm not sure whether to proceed with sewing the rows/top together or to wait until Spotlight has a fabric sale** which would save me a good deal on purchase of Moody Blues fabric for backing and binding. Maybe I'll let things settle in my mind for a day or so while thinking about what to make with the very Australian 'Landscape' fabric shared in my previous post.....

*All the printed fabrics shown above are from Geninne's Moody Blues collection for Cloud 9 Fabrics, the white is a chambray weight cross-weave called Limestone from Cloud 9's Cirrus collection of solids. All these fabrics are GOTS certified organic cotton.
**Two days later these fabrics were reduced on a one-day sale at Spotlight - backing is now purchased!

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ink & Spindle + Cloud 9 = Landscape

Kangaroo Paw, a tough Australian native, is distinctive in shape and name. I have grown them before but not in a sunny enough spot, so I have bought a new plant and am thoroughly enjoying the wonderful long stems of colourful flowers. I tempted to leave it in a pot on our back deck in clear view every day.

Cloud 9 Fabrics (always organic with low impact dyes) have just released a new collection called Landscape by Australian designers Ink & Spindle.  This is a very exciting collaboration. I recently bought an offcuts bundle from Ink & Spindle to sample their work. It's really good to have some of their uniquely Australian designs now available in quilting weight organic cotton. Landscape comes in two different colour ways, both beautiful. I'm enjoying contemplating what to make with those which I have purchased from the US. I believe they will also be available through some Australian outlets, just not sure where yet. I will keep you updated.

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