Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Almost Caught Up

C13 Log Cabin Baskets
C12 Turnaround
C12 Hidden Extras

I would love to say that I have caught up with posting all of the blocks that Carol has emailed me but alas she sews quicker than I edit and upload.
Mind you everyone is fortunate that she is so far ahead as she also edits my patterns for errors. We assume I had been getting stuck into the wine when I wrote the numbers for Log Cabin Baskets as they were all over the place. Thankfully now that has been corrected.
This is also Carol's second attempt at Hidden Extras. Rather than wasting time, like I did, using the same fabric for both the little and the long star points she used two colours so that they could actually be seen.
Doesn't Turnaround  look great with her fabric choice.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Youthful Fun

C10 Fiesta
C12 Relay for Life

C11 Winter Sun
These three blocks were named for events around my youngest son. 
He loves parties and the Winter Sun, particularly now as he lives in Norway and sees so little of it.
He has also always been a willing participant of many fundraisers. While at uni he joined with a group of friends in the Relay for Life. This was his first fundraiser where he discovered that there could be fun in the event rather than just slogging it out to get money for whatever charity.
He related with pride how one night he and nine of his friends managed to come second last in a trivia night...because they had bought nine of the last ten answers. He loved the Fiesta afterwards.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Childhood Memories

C15 Bond Street
C13 Spinning Spokes
C15 Goldilocks
 There are many of my memories within the blocks of Raconteur, the nights of Monopoly and cheers when I held the  Bond Street card in my hand - it was my good luck charm. As a child I fought to win like every other child. Now I dislike the game and that same aspect. For every winner there are more losers and I won't play. Thankfully our children have discovered many other games which aren't quite as cut throatgh cut throat is still their favourites.
Do you remember....
.... the Xmas you received yoru first bike and the Spinning Spokes and those plastic ribbons attached to the handlebars?
..... the story books and characters like Goldilocks and the moral of all of those stories. I am sure they were written with the sole purpose of drumming values into children.
.... the games of hide and seek..Searching for that last kid who always had the perfect spot?
.... and best of all that great big tractor tube, the Childish Tube, which was always found beside every swimming hole? Wouldn't be allowed these days ..OH&S or some other government regulation.

C9 Childish Tube
C9 Rabbits in the Light
C15 Searching
Another memory which would be common to many country kids would be the rabbit hunting and those poor Rabbits in the Lights. A revolting sport according to one of my city friends when told of it later. As a child I simply considered it to be food. Different times. Different circumstances.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Nature Rules

C10 Salmon Run

Salmon Run was made when Paul and I were on a cruise through Alaska. One of Paul's hobbies is researching holidays which are good value and one year he managed to pick up an amazing special on a land and boat package through Alaska. It was the most breathtaking place I have ever been. 
We saw brown bears, close enough to touch had we been stupid/game enough, squirrels, otters, puffins and many others including salmon. Although most of the animals were in the wild the salmon weren't as we went there in April/May but we did walk beside one of the rivers where they 'run' in the springtime.
C12 Sparrow's Flight

Our son's live overseas and we are very lucky to be able to have free accomodation whenever we can stand to make the 20-30 hour flight.
One year we went to England where one son was living and it was there that I finally understood the concept I had always grown up believing..'birds fly south for the winter'. Isn't it terrible of our education that we grew up with all of these 'facts' which weren't changed to suit our location. As so many of our books were published, or at least written in the northern hemisphere we simply learnt and believed these facts. There I saw many sparrows and stopped to think that yes the English birds would fly south, to warmth for the winter. I never understood why our birds would fly to Antartica for winter... a child's thoughts and memories.
C4 Summer's Day
We can all guess when I made Summer's Day. Although Carol had prewashed her fabrics the red still ran here. I had the same problem with a number of my blocks, but it was my fault for being lazy and not prewashing..why does one only learn after the fact...and then repeat the error at a later date.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mistakes Corrected

C10 Sweet September

Carol has finished another two blocks...I have found a soul mate...someone who must never stop for food or to do horrid chores... how else could she finish so many blocks so quickly. 
In truth once the fabric is cut Raconteur is a lovely project which can be used to fill in a few minutes here and there. 
There are quick and easy blocks such as Hidden Extras as well as other more time intensive ones like Sweet September.
Sweet September is a simplified version of Rhonda Loves Spots in Collection 22. I liked the idea of the star in the middle floating here and tried to develop it further in Rhonda Loves Spots. Failed miserably in that aspect but it is still a pretty block.
C12 Hidden Extra
Hidden Extras gets its name from the fact that in the original quilt the six star arms are made of two pieces each. I had chosen the wrong fabric for some of the pieces but wasn't home at the time so couldn't recut the fabric. As I had run out of other sewing I figured I may as well make it up anyhow.
Raconteur took me an average of 30 hours per collection...error like this one contributed to that time:) I am sure Carol will finish her quilt a lot quicker than I did.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Funny Coincidence

C10 Rainbow Writing
What a difference fabric design makes. In the original quilt this block was made with a rainbow coloured stripe. 
In my day job I teach hearing impaired children who are placed in a regular school.  Most of my time teaching has been with older children, upper primary through to year 12 but  this child was only 5 and so I was spending some time in the kinder working out how things ran and what the child was like.
Well one of the activities that the children did was Rainbow Writing. In this activity the children traced their names first in one colour and then over the top of that in another colour and then a third colour and so on. 
Being a secondary teacher I thought this was a real time waster and of little benefit, but it looked pretty. BTW I have since learnt that it is a great activity to help the littlies improve their pencil skills besides looking pretty and most chldren don't find it as boring as colouring in...we can all learn something.
An amazing co-incidence is that Carol's fabrics look just like one of the buildings at the school.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fear of Curves

Cool Cat in the Outback
C13 Maypole

Carol this week started out thinking that this was not a week for curves. She looked at Maypole and decided that it was not the time to try  those corner circles and so she made Cool Cat in the Outback. If you look closely at these two blocks you will see a lot of similarity. Cool Cat is simply missing three circles. After a bit of deliberation she decided that no circle was going to beat her and so she EPP'd the background, foundation pieced the circles, cut them out and then gathered them over 200gsm paper, ironed them and then appliqued them on top...not scarey at all she said.....apart from the EPP it was similar to how I made them. I still can't understand why people enjoy EPP rather than regualr piecing but Carol appears to be having great fun with this method. Patchwork is such a wonderufl hobby where everyone can indulge their delight.

C9 Portrait Pain
Another block which originally caused Carol some pain was Portrait Pain but as may be seen from her block it oculdn't have been all that painful. Carol tried foundation piecing this one but found the curves just didn't suit it so she then returned to her favourite method of EPP again:)

Midnight Escapades

C11 Mandola at Midnight
So what do you do at midnight? No I'm not obsessed with quilting and designing quilts and yes I do read widely... it's just that one day a few years ago I had received the latest copy of QNM and in it was an article explaining the process for designing mandolas. Well of course I couldn't resist and so I jumped out of bed and went to the computer and set to immediately designing my own mandola. And in a totally impartial manner I was able to go to bed assured that my design would be perfect for sewing the next day.
Well next day brought a few challenges as I discovered that what looked perfect and easy when magnified to 800% was perhaps not so perfect nor easy at 100%. Those little triangles in the middle were added at the last minute to assist in flattening the centre. Not a bad block for someone having lots of tiny scraps. This block only has 142 pieces. From memory there is one block which has more pieces. Oh in case you didn't know the side length of the hexagon is 2in.
Any idea what time I was designing?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Impact of Films

Captain Africa - the Mightly Jungle Avenger
Do you remember all of those movies you saw as a child? I assume like me the answer is no. However there are some that we do remember. Did you ever see Captain Africa? A bit like the Phantom, the ghost who walks in the night. He was also a cartoon character of my childhood.
The Phantom
Captain Africa was a weekly movie shown at the local theatre and every week he would die in those final seconds. You know the scenes .. he has saved the poor defenceless female, definitely a movie full of stereotypes, and is off fighting a new bad guy but just before the curtain falls he does something heroic which of course results in imminent death. Like he is in a car which is hurtling over a cliff. You see the car plunge over the edge and the camera pans away to show you rapids at the bottom of the distant canyon floor...
Life was so hectic and fast paced in those days that my friends and I would discuss through the week the adventure of the previous weekend and wonder what would next week be replacing Captain Africa as he had died AGAIN...bit like the afternoon soaps.
Next week we returned to be shown those last few minutes again and oh we hadn't seen it before but Captain Africa had jumped clear of the car just before it plummeted over the edge..and so this week's adventure could continue.
And yes we did believe it every time. That a rather overweight male with a too big stomach wearing long lights, a skivvy and mask could be the 'Mighty Jungle Avenger' ..definitely naive.
C12 No Roses for Michael
Another movie which I remember, and with about as much clarity, was called 'No Roses for Michael'. I have no idea where the title came from nor do I remember much apart from the final scene where Michael is lying in a grotty alley dying from a drug overdose. This movie was one of the first in drug education. Very frightening to a naive country girl. I prefer the modern way of educating people as to why they should avoid drugs rather than simply trying to scare them. Education has changed a lot...mind you 'No Roses for Michael' was frightening enough for me that I avoided drugs..but didn't work as well with several peole I knew.
Carol decided that Michael should have some roses and what a delightful block it is.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

EPP Tested

C? USA International
 A short while ago Carol mentioned that she loved English paper piecing. Personally, although I had made one quilt using that method, it was, like applique, not something that I was going to repeat too often.  However I figured that if she was willing to test my patterns for the method I was willing to convert the patterns for it.
Since then Carol has made numerous blocks using EPP. REsearching on the web I found there were two methods commonly used for converting, scaling the patterns or increasing the line width and then cutting on both sides of the line.
Initially I scaled the blocks and Carol liked this method however when I tried it I found I had difficulty when there were many seams that joined onto a single piece of fabric and so decided to try the thicker line method. 
C? USA International
I tried both methods and preferred the cut both sides of the thicker line but when Carol tried both methods she preferred the scaled pattern method. 
I have now added the thicker line templates to all of the patterns but have promised Carol that after next week I will continue scaling the patterns for her. So if anyone would prefer the scaled patterns just let me know and I will also send those out.
Here are her two versions of USA International. Carol found that the thicker line method made blocks slightly bigger that the required size. While I found that the scaled templates were too small. Interesting isn't it.
Mind you when you add the borders and then trim the whole thing to the correct finished size you can't see the difference...aren't border helpful?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Snippets Class continued

I Love Lucy

Crystal Dreams
I don't know where I have hidden the photos from my first day at the recent retreat. As I said in the previous post it was a two day class. The first was hand work while the second was machine work. I had taken more photos than this from the first day but am unable to find them, which is a shame as there were some lovely colour combinations. Hopefully the students will send me photos so that I can share them here.
I Love Lucy - in progress
I have found these four and you can see what a difference colour choice makes. Daiva again used bright colours and decided in Crystal Dreams that the flower should have some leaves. Also using different colours for the vase and the flowers creates a different look again. Daiva is planning, at this stage to back and quilt each block separately and then bring the backing over to the front and join these to form a bag. Looking forward to seeing it soon.... Daiva didn't seem to be someone who left projects to whenever to complete:) She finished three blocks over the weekend and made them all by hand.

Merry Xmas - in progress
Meg's fabrics for both this block and the machne pieced were pale..exactly what I had planned Raconteur to be when I began it. I wonder if she will make all of her blocks is such gentle colours.
Bev loved the machine stitching day and apart from sewing Enter With Care managed to complete all of the sections for Merry Xmas on the second day, even though it was a shorter day than the first.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Childhood Memories

C11 Rose Garden

C9 Accepted Few
C11 I'm Three
Carol loves to fussy cut and boy does she have some lovely fabrics to do so with. Rose Garden would remind all of us of those old fashioned roses that little old ladies used to have. When I was a child there was such an old lady about three doors down from my home and every Mother's Day, Xmas or special occassion the children in the area would descend on her doorstep. She would give all of us a small bouquet of flowers for our mums. The roses, to me at least, were the most prized as they had such a wonderful perfume. A few years ago I took my husband to see this garden but not only had the garden been removed so had her gorgeous little house ..... sometimes progress isn't really positive.
Actually when you look at her fabrics for all of the blocks in this post you see so many things from my childhood, the chickens in the backyard, everyone had those, and all of the insects we searched for. Oh and the name I'm Three why of course can't you see a small child holding up any number of fingers, seldom the right number, and saying I'm three or I'm big they believe.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What a Difference Colour Makes

Well here we have seven blocks from students at my first Snippets class. It was a two day class with the first day being hand work and the second machine work. Everyone appeared to enjoy the class, particularly the second day.
Several of these blocks still need their outer borders but you can see how great they are going to be. 
Daiva changed her colour layout and achieved a totally different block. I love it when people add their own preferances into something.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Accepted Few

C9 Accepted Few
Another delightful block from Carol. Accepted Few evolved when I started to make it in one fabric and part way through found I didn't have enough fabric to make all of the dark pieces and had to settle on fewer than I had originally planned. I love those chicken feet.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Busy Weekend

C11 - Hunter's Web

C8 - King of Versailles (in the Outback)
C8 - Too Many Thorn
C9 (Feral) Sports D
Well Carol and her blocks have had a very busy weekend. Whilst out with the King of Versailles (in the Outback) and in the midst of her (Feral) Sports Day she encountered Too Many Thorns and a Hunter's Web.  Amazing how if you try you can link anything together..makes one wonder why they don't solve more crimes these days...perhaps due to the fact that fabricating links isn't really the right way to go.
Hunter's Web and Too Many Thorns were two of my favourites. In the original quilt Hunter's Web is actually smaller as I didn't check my printing scale and printed it 'to fit on the page', whatever scale that was I don't remember but I do know that it was my last sheet of foundation paper and so I left it. I prefer Carol's version where the points go right out to the edge... love points in case you haven't guessed:)
King of Versilles was made after a day out with our son. He was studying in Paris at the time and thought we would enjoy the palace, which we did. Carol's busy faric is more reminiscent of the busyness and ornateness of the palace. Well worth the visit and better allows people to understand why the normal people rebelled at the royals considering many of them were starving at the time.
I must say that Carol's take on a sports day is to the point and very true for the average three legged race with senior boys. That is one event I won't miss when I leave work.