Saturday 31 July 2021

July Stitching Goals Wrap Up

Another month has come to an end and we are now two thirds of the way through winter, with the days getting a little bit longer, which is nice.

Therefore, it is time to check in with what I have been working on throughout the month.  You can check back here to see what my goals were for July.

Let's see how I went:


Yes, I have the top of my Jocelyn Proust quilt completed.  It is still with my quilting fairy, so no bonus finish.


I did complete the little baby quilt using my sample Swoon block, but I didn't get around to putting the snaps on the bibs.  It is such a big job....... it would probably take...... minutes....... It will happen, as will making the other eight bibs......  Pop over to Cheryll's to see what everyone else achieved.


Yes!  I have a few - the Swoon baby quilt, some pillow cases, two face mask, the crochet scarf and the quilt in a day baby quilt.  I'm happy enough with that.


Yes, I made one block.


Yes, and I was very productive.


Yes, I made a crochet infinity scarf.


Ah, nope..... I haven't  made any more pencil cases and the Laundry Baskets Mystery Quilt blocks are still sitting patiently to be put together into a quilt top.  I'm actually quite happy for them to sit there for a little while, but I do want to get a wriggle on and get those pencil cases made sooner rather than later.

However, I did make a few other bonus projects - some pillow cases to update from our current threadbare ones, a couple of face masks (but I need to make more) and a baby quilt in a day.  

You can read about all of these projects here and here.

July is usually a fairly productive month for me, as it is good weather to stay inside in the sewing room.  Now I have to have a think about what goals to set for next month.

Friday 30 July 2021

A Quilt in a Day

I had a dream.......not the Martin Luther kind, but a quilting kind.

I would make a little baby quilt in a day....from start to finish.  I had nothing on today, so that was my plan.  So how did I go?  You know, the best laid plans of mice and men.....and all that.

Mick reckons that if you don't have a plan, it can't go wrong........yeah right.....Well, I didn't really have a plan for this project, I just winged it.  So, it couldn't go wrong, could it.
The only real plan was to use some fabrics tucked away in a little box.  They have been sitting there for thirteen years.  How can I be so specific? Well, my niece turned fourteen earlier this month and these are the leftovers from her first birthday quilt.  I wasn't sure what exactly would be in the box, so I was a little surprised to find a nice roll of binding, ready to go and 21 squares cut to 6 1/2 inches, as well as more fabric.  You can't tell from the photo, but the lemon dragonfly fabric, as well as the purple with silver stars have a glitter finish to them.  There is a pink and silver star fabric and blue dragonfly fabric as well, that are buried in the piles.  That is the main reason I haven't just added these to the main stash.

Now I had to decide how to make a quilt using those pieces of fabric.  In the end I used the KISS principle.  Keep it simple, stupid.
I just laid the squares out, with one left over.  I would join them into a panel and add a couple of borders.  Too simple.  I'd have it knocked over in no time flat..............Now, what did I say about the best laid plans?
I'm not sure if you can see it clearly, but the bobbin tension on my Janome machine started to go hay wire.  It wasn't like your usual top or bottom tension being too tight, the bobbin thread was just loose. But it wasn't all the time, just intermittent.  No worries, I could fix that with a bit of a fiddle.

1.    Rethread bobbin - nope
2.    Rethread top thread - nope
3     Fiddle with tension - nope
4.    Remove bobbin housing and give a good clean - nope...and it wasn't very fluffy either
5.    Change needle - nope
6.    Fiddle with foot pressure - nope
7.    Try a different thread - nope
8.    Phone fabric shop to book in a service - nope - the service man lives and works in Sydney and is in lockdown.
9.    Pack up machine and get out Mick's Mum's early 1970s Elna - Yes

The fabric shop did suggest I could bring the machine in and the owner would have a look at it, as she is pretty good with tension problems.  In the meantime, I decided to give it a drop of oil on the wick under the bobbin housing and see if that did anything.

Anyway, after this wasted quite a bit of time, I pieced the rest of the blocks using the Elna.

I then planned the borders - one plain border, one pieced from 6 1/2" x 2" strips and then a second plain border.

I added the first border, worked out the lay out of the second and added it.

Then, I went and checked on my machine.  The oil took a while to soak in, but it eventually did.  I turned it over by hand and it was sounding lovely and quiet.  I had noticed it was a bit noisier lately.  I think it may have been thirsty.  I know to oil my old machines regularly, but don't normally do the Janome.

Anyway, I decided to give it another go and see if the oil made any difference.  Yes!!!!  I did have a bit more fiddle with the tension knob, but I was able to get it to stitch nicely again.  What a relief.  I wasn't looking forward to machine quilting on the Elna, which, as much as I love using it, doesn't have all the features, or throat size of my Janome 6500P.

I added the final borders, basted it and quilted it.  Just cross hatching on the main panel and echo quilting in the plain borders.

Why am I showing you this needle?  If you look closely, you can see it is one of those easy thread needles, which don't have an eye, as such, but you pull the thread through a barb.  I read recently where a lady was using one for burying threads.  What a fantastic idea.  I'm a bit anal, in that I tie off and bury threads when I machine applique and quilt.  It's a pain threading the needle with two threads that are generally different lengths.  I bought a packet a couple of weeks ago and this was the first time I'd tried one.  Oh my goodness!!  What a time saver.  I love it.
Anyway........Ta Da!!  One very simple, but pretty, baby quilt completed in a day.  It measures 39 inches by 33 inches.  The centre blocks finish at 6 inches and the borders finish at 1 1/2 inches.
You can see the quilting a bit better here.
I once again used some flannelette for the backing.  I had one metre of these sheep, and, as it was non directional, it fitted perfectly.  The colour matches the mint green squares nicely.  Happily, I had some left over batting in a tub, which was just the right size as well, with nothing left over.  It was obviously meant to be.
I have never finished off a binding on a quilt by machine before, but I thought this would be a good project to try it the day was marching on and I did want to get it finished before midnight.  I think it turned out rather well and is even not too bad on the back.  Oh, and I just had to add one width of fabric to the binding roll that was already prepared for it to be long enough, so that was rather handy.

I'm not sure how long it actually took to make, as there were some breaks along the way, but it was definitely well and truly finished in a day.

There is probably enough fabric left in the little box to make another quilt.  I'll just have to set aside another day for that one.

Oh, and maybe Mick's theory worked this time..... there was just a little speed hump along the way.

Monday 26 July 2021

Ticking Some Boxes

It's getting towards the end of the month, so time to share what stitching I have been up to since my last post.

Firstly, my One Monthly Goal has been achieved.  The quilt top has been completed.  I simply joined the blocks together with no sashing.  It was a pain getting my points to match, as there is so much bulk at the points, but it is the best I can manage.  However, I'm still happy I went that way, as I like the secondary pattern the white areas create. It was finished with a very simple two inch border.
I didn't get the chance to finish it completely this month, as my quilting fairy has a few other quilts ahead of me in the queue. 
This is the pattern that I chose for the quilting.  I think it should suit it well.

I have linked up with Elm Street Quilts. Thanks, as always for the encouragement.

The next project I have been working on is my Christmas stitcheries.  
Just one more block stitched. I started this during our Zoom get together at the beginning of the month, but only finished it a couple of days ago.  Surprisingly, I have completed an average of one block a month.  I thought I was further behind than that.  I do need to lift my game if I am to have a finished project by the end of the year.

I have worked on a couple of other little things.

We have been blessed in this part of the world, in that we have only had to wear masks during the last month or so.  Finally, I have had a go at making a face mask.  This was the prototype to work out sizing.  This one fits Mick.  I made one the same in a smaller size, but it was even too small for me.  Now that I know the size to make it is time to make one for me in pretty fabric.  That is the hardest part, what fabric to use.

When I went to make these I bought some narrow elastic, as all the soft elastic had sold out.  
When I went to put it in the drawer I found this.  Bonus!  I had obviously bought some ages ago in anticipation of having to make masks and completely forgotten about it.

The final bit of sewing I have done was a bit more utilitarian.  Our flannie sheets still have plenty of life in them, but our pillow cases are getting a bit threadbare.  
Time to make some new ones.  It is hard to find any flannelette that isn't juvenile or grey, so this is the best I could come up with.  I just used our old pillow cases for dimensions and made some notes to make it quicker for the next time I make some.

As the month hasn't come to an end as yet, there may still be a bit more stitching to share.......if I get my butt into gear.

Wednesday 21 July 2021

WOOFA Project for July

Today was a lovely sunny day and it was nice to get out of the office for a little while and soak it up, even though the temperature was still quite cold.  As the days are getting a tad longer, it was even a bit light when I headed home, seeing as there wasn’t the cloud cover.  It was worth making the most of it all before the bleak weather returns for the weekend. 

Now to my stitching progress…..

My WOOFA project for July was to finish some bibs and turn this block into a small baby quilt.
As I mentioned previously, it was a test block for the Swoon Quilt that I intended to turn into a table topper, or something.  In the end I decided to make a small baby quilt.

A bit more background....... I participated in a fat quarter birthday swap ages ago and I don't seem to have ever blogged about the fabrics I received.  I'm guessing it was at the beginning of 2015.  Anyway, I had requested Bonnie and Camille fabrics and received a lovely assortment.  I then just added a couple more and have enough to make a Swoon quilt.  All the fabrics, including background, have been waiting patiently in a project box ever since.  They are added to my To Do list every year, and just get carried over to the next year.  Hopefully, as I'm progressively getting UFOs and other quilts completed I may get to it.

Finally, on Sunday afternoon I made a start on the baby quilt.  I had found some thin wadding in a tub and had bought some cute flannelette for the backing, as it would be nice and snuggly.
I started by quilting some vees following the seams and using the hera marker, but it is difficult to see the marks under the light of the machine.
I then decided to use painters tape, which worked really well. I was able to use the tape over and over again. The best bit was that I discovered that the tape was pretty much exactly two thirds of the width between my lines of stitching.  Place the take to the left had row of stitching, then after stitching beside the tape, move the tape to the right side row of stitching and stitch along the other side.  It worked like a dream.  My original intention was to do all the stitching as vees, but when stitching the extra rows through the centre of the quilt I got carried away and forgot to stop to turn for the vee, if that makes sense, and ended up doing a cross hatch through the centre of the block.  No worries, I still like the way it turned out.
My plan was then to hand stitch down the binding on Monday evening.  However, Joey had other ideas.  He was determined to sit on my lap.  More so than usual, so in the end I gave up and he won.
Finally, yesterday morning I made good progress and finished the binding before heading off to work.
Ta da! One cute little 24 inch baby quilt.
I do like the backing fabric.  It suits it well.
This photo shows the quilting a bit better.

I'm really happy with how it turned out.  I'm even considering making the Swoon Quilt (whenever that may be) using the quilt as you go method.  I think it would look good quilted like this.

Tuesday 20 July 2021

A Little COVID -19 Update

We break our usual transmission for a new flash.......well not really.

This is just a post for my records, as our friend COVID-19 is starting to impact us a bit more.
Back in early June, a fellow in Sydney caught the Delta variant and unwittingly passed it on.  The powers that be tried to keep things under control with minimal limitations to our daily lives, particularly as New South Wales had been saying they wouldn't be closing borders etc.

Sadly, by not doing a snap, hard lock down the virus spread rapidly throughout Sydney, and a couple of infected people travelled to the Central Coast, the Illawarra and the Blue Mountains.  Subsequently, all those areas were subject to a lock down. 

Regional NSW has been spared from a full lock down, but for the first time since the start of the pandemic, eighteen months ago, we are now having to wear masks when out and about, including at work, as well as compulsory signing into everywhere we go with a QR Code.  Other than that, we are not all that limited in our movements.  The Bathurst Winter Festival was even still able to proceed, albeit in a reduced manner.

Progressively, daily infection numbers increase until there were more than 100 per day, with many being out and about in the community while infected. Restrictions were tightened in Sydney and surrounding areas. Miraculously, there were still no infections in regional NSW.

In the last few days Victoria and South Australia have also imposed lock downs and Queensland has now a case or two, so watch this space.....
On a personal note, we have both had our first dose of Astra Zenica vaccine, with the second jab due in early September.  We haven't been impacted too much, both still going to work and doing what we need around town.  We had hoped to attend the Quilt Show in Sydney in early July, but it was postponed until early September.  I won't be surprised if it is postponed further, or cancelled.  I know we won't be going to Sydney, regardless of the outcome.  The other impact is that we were going to the Mundi Mundi Bash music festival, west of Broken Hill in mid August.  It has now been postponed until the end of September.  Once again, we will wait and see if it eventuates or not. 

We aren't too far west of Sydney, on one of the main routes out of the city, so have been thinking it would only be a matter of time until the virus reached regional NSW, and particularly our area.

There have been a couple of instances of transport drivers coming to our area while infected in the last couple of weeks.  The most recent was last week, where a delivery driver visited a factory in Blayney, about half an hour west of us, several times last week, stopping at a truck stop just out of Bathurst for dinner each night.  Many people have been tested, and now, one employee at the Blayney factory has tested positive.  He had attended several places in the neighbouring city of Orange while infectious, but while unaware that he had been in contact with a COVID positive person.  

Subsequently, Orange, Blayney and Cabonne council areas are going into lock down as of midnight tonight for seven days.  This is the first regional area to be affected in this way.  It makes us all realise that we do need to take protective measures seriously.
Now that there are exposure sites close to home, with many people travelling between towns for work and shopping, we will keep a low profile, where possible.

Let's hope that things get under control before long, as so many people are affected by the lock downs, in so many ways.  We are certainly thinking of them.

On a positive note......there has to be an upside......the weather has been cold, wet and just plain bleak here.  It is much easier to wear a mask in this weather than it would be in the middle of summer.  Also, it's great weather for staying home.  Sewing, reading and cooking all are rather appealing, regardless of the COVID situation.
There are just a few tiny pops of colour in our winter garden.  Poor photos, but it's hard to take a photo when the flowers are just above ground level.  I noticed yesterday that our wallflower is budding up, as is the daphne we planted last year. Something to look forward to.

Now to return to our usual programme........

Monday 5 July 2021

Bathurst Winter Festival 2021

After Bathurst's annual Winter Festival was cancelled last year, everyone was so looking forward to a great time this year.

However, we all know that you can't take anything for granted any more and just a few hours before the opening of the event, last Friday, news came out that Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Illawarra and Central Coast would be locked down and everyone else in the state would have to wear face masks.  The Festival is a huge draw card for families during the winter school holidays, so it was mad scramble to make changes for the event to still able to proceed in a limited manner.  We were away, so would not have had the chance to go anyway.
As the COVID situation hasn't got any worse and there have been no cases in our area the "Brew and Bite" event this last weekend was able to go ahead.  We went along and had a wonderful time.

The day had been cold with scatty showers blowing across all day, but fortunately, the weather cleared for the evening.
Our first stop is always to get some mulled wine from Renzaglia Winery, as we used to be their next door neighbours.  It is something we look forward to each Winter Festival.
The Carillon looked great all lit up and with the ferris wheel in the background.
The band "Wildcard" were playing during the event.  What a great band.  Pop over to their facebook site to have a listen.
There were some street performers roaming around.  They are all part of the Kelso High School circus troupe.

Let's go for a wonder around.
Next we went for a wander over to Machattie Park to have a look around.
Not as much to see as previous years, but it was still nice.

A main feature of the festival is the illuminations on some buildings around town. Usually our impressive court house is the centrepiece, but it is currently undergoing major restorations, so cannot be used.
This building showcased indigenous art.
One laneway had what I considered to be the most fun installation.  You stood in a certain spot and as you moved, it was projected onto the wall in front.  This girl had it worked out so well, and her yellow jacket showed up so well.  If you were wearing dark clothes, only your face showed up.
There were vintage railway scenes on the side of the Railway Museum.
This was another fun installation.  It showed the man actually doing the painting as a movie.  Very clever.

There were others as well.
Some of the shops decorated their windows.  The antique shop always does a nice job.
Some local ladies created a crochet Christmas tree.
And finally, the Anglican Cathedral had some fun little fellows on show.

By now it was getting a bit late, and the event was winding up.  We did have a lovely evening out.