Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Quilts have been gifted

Just an update - Miss R gave the quilts to her teachers a few weeks ago, just before exams started.

Ms D (the English teacher) cried and said she'd never been given a gift from a student before. That made me cry.

Ms S (the SSO) said it was the most beautiful gift she had ever been given and wrote me a lovely thank you note.

Ms P (the Care Group/PLP/History teacher) said it was lovely and that teaching R and seeing her develop was the only reward necessary. I don't think she really 'got' it....but she's only young. Quilts probably seem very boring to her (and she called it a RUG!!). I will forgive her.

Now we are on school holiday time. I am so thankful that Miss R is of an age where she can catch buses to get her to where she wants/needs to be as I am working longer hours (and most weekends) as it is very, very busy at work and I'm not getting my planned time off. At least it is paid overtime, so my bank balance is happy. :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Thank you Ms P, Ms S and Ms D.

My Miss R does not enjoy school. Her learning disabilities makes it difficult and tiring for her. Over the years that she has been at this school (11 years in all), I can count on one hand the number of teachers that seem to truly "get" her and go out of their way to help her achieve. Way back in Year 1 and 2, I didn't know how to quilt so that teacher missed out (although I probably still have time to make her one!!). Two quilts were gifted in Year 8 - one to the Maths teacher (as that was when Maths FINALLY seemed to click for her) and the other for the Science teacher (not because Miss R did brilliantly in Science, more that the Science teacher seemed to genuinely care how she went).

Last year was a really frustrating year and I came home from Learning Reviews in the first semester vowing that no teacher deserved a quilt. (Imagine the Soup Nazi episode from Seinfeld...NO QUILTS FOR YOU!!) I didn't even bother with Learning Reviews in the second semester.

But this year has been a good year for Miss R. Normally the wheels would have fallen off by this point of the school year and they haven't. Learning Reviews have been really positive and while we're still sorting out subject choices for Year 11, I think we have a pretty clear picture of where she's going. I'm also pretty sure she'll do Year 12 over 2 years, making her the oldest graduate the school has ever seen....

And there have been THREE teachers that deserve quilts this year. Well technically 2 teachers and the SSO. The SSO (Ms S) has been giving Miss R extra support on and off since Reception (she moved from the junior school to the middle school at one point and R has continued seeing her this year despite being in the Senior School). Not sure if she'll be assisting again next year but I definitely think she needed to be rewarded for her patience.

This would have to be one of my all-time favourite quilts. The pattern is called Sparkling Gemstones and I also used it as the basis for the Vespa quilt for Mr G. Done in all blue tones, it just looks fantastic and I think I'll definitely make it again one day. Quite large too - you can see I couldn't fit it on the clothes line without it dragging on the ground - at 60" x 72". Used a few of the left over blocks on the back.

This quilt is for her Care Group teacher who also takes her for History, PLP and Religion. I'm really hoping that she also gets her in Year 12 for Research Project. I'd already pieced the quilt at the beginning of the year, just because I like the colour scheme and then months later I asked Miss R to quietly suss out the teachers for their fave colours. Turned out Ms P likes yellow and grey....how fortuitous!! This one measures 65" x 65" and the pattern is called something like Fruit Salad. I used an Ikea fabric for the back that I bought ages ago but have since realised that home decor weight is not such a great idea for quilt backs. Plenty of unpicking went on here.

And finally, I'd pieced this using a couple of Kate Spain charm packs and I had it to sell at a market stall (that never eventuated). Then I went to Learning Reviews and was so impressed by the English teacher that I earmarked it for Ms D. She is new to the school and I even went so far as to email the Principal about her. I have never seen Miss R enthused about English E.V.E.R. but she was just so enthused and animated about the subject...wow! Fancy loving Shakespeare!!

NB. I've decided that I much prefer straight line quilting too. I stipple too closely and it makes the quilt too stiff IMHO....the cross hatched quilts feel much softer.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


I'm feeling a bit guilty because something special is coming home to live with me in a few weeks time. It's a demo model so I just couldn't resist the price. I'm trading in my 440QE for it, so I hope I don't regret it.....

You can read the details here. I'm looking forward to the bigger throat; will make quilting so much easier. And the much bigger bobbin. Will be a lot to learn and some of the things I've read online are a bit daunting but the reviews are generally positive so I'm sure I'll be able to nut it out. Bit scary to think that I could buy a cheap second hand car for similar money though! Still, in the words of L'Oreal.....I'm worth it!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Busy Life

Things have been busy here. Miss R has had an after school activity every day for the first semester - Mon = dance/Gang Show rehearsals
Tues = mentoring for Autism SA
Wed = working (stock fill)
Thurs = Scouts
Fri = Tutor (although that is fortnightly)

So I've been busy dropping off and picking up and Miss R has been busy trying to keep up with the homework. Year 10 has stepped it up a notch and she has struggled to complete everything. Her report was really good - all B's and C's (and more B's than C's!) but it has taken its toll. She missed that last week of school completely as she had tonsillitis but she probably would have recovered more quickly if she hadn't been quite so exhausted.

But I have had time for some quilting. I basted 3 or 4 quilts over Easter and have been plugging away at them ever since. I also had a request for a baby quilt, plus my cousin is expecting Baby #2 and a work colleague had a baby at just 26 weeks. Thankfully baby quilts are relatively quick and easy!

 This one is for a work colleague. I made one for her just after I bought the Bernina 440QE and it was my first real attempt at stippling. This one is for the recipients sister who is expecting a baby any day now. Simple and bright squares, with a panel of 2 1/2" squares on the back. Love the bright orange binding. Hopefully will appeal no matter the sex.

This one is for the work colleague who had Baby Siena at 26 weeks. Fortunately she had been hospitalised for a few weeks prior so had had 3 or 4 steroid injections so little Siena is doing well. I used some pretty Tilda fabric that I bought at a quilt fair ages ago, then teamed it with some Valorie Wells fabric that also had pretty little birds on it to keep the theme going. Pretty but muted colouring and the Spotlight fabric I used for the border picks up the colours in the blocks. Backed with my favourite Ikea hearts fabric - so perfect for any baby quilt!

I have a couple of other finishes which I'll blog about soon. I'm making quilts for a few of Miss R's teachers, so will blog them all once completed.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

More scrappy goodness

The last few quilts have all been scrappy and yet my scrap basket never seems to diminish. I could probably churn out another 2 or 3 without making a dent. But I also needed to cut into stash so whipped up a new quilt a few weeks ago....can't show you yet as it's only just basted.

In the meantime, here's one I posted off to Mr G's birth mother for Christmas. She lives in Qld and has health issues so we don't see a lot of her. (Hopefully we can get up there to see her soon.)

This one is 3 1/2" scrappy squares sewn in a random pattern. The back is a Denise Schmidt from Spotlight - I think, or maybe not. It's pretty, whatever it is. Bound with a red solid to finish it off beautifully. Unfortunately I didn't measure before sending it off but it's more lap sized than bed sized (and you can see my helper's feet at the bottom.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Scrappy Squares for SIL

Since I started quilting, I have made a quilt for someone in my family for Christmas.

First was my mum: (What! I don't have a photo of this!!)

The next year was my sister:

My auntie came next:

Then SIL #1:

And Christmas 2013 was SIL #2:

We came to an arrangement when the cousins were quite small that we would only buy for the kids, not the adults, so I wouldn't normally gift anything to my SIL. But Mum was worried that she would feel left out so asked me to make one for her and I was happy to oblige. Really like the way this turned out, front and back. I rarely buy large quantities of a fabric but if I see a large scale print I like, will buy a couple of metres for backs. This one was an "end of bolt" special at Spotlight and the colours blend really well with the scrappy blocks.

And while my SIL was surprised to get a parcel, she did seem to like the contents. :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

It's been a long time between finishes....

My biggest regret is how little time I get for quilting these days. Mr G is still feeling the effects of the concussion he received almost 12 months ago - a specialist recently told him the fatigue and headaches could last for 2 years, which didn't go down particularly well - so is not as able to help with drop off & pick ups etc during the week. By the time I've taken Miss R to her various activities, cooked dinner or thrown in a load of washing or cleaned up, then gone back to collect her, then eaten, got her sorted out with homework etc....well, I'm tired too. Weekends have either been to damn hot to do anything at all, busy with housework or spent cleaning at the holiday house. So while some stitching has been done, the progress has been slow.

But I have managed to finish a couple of WIPs. Now, my philosophy has always been to complete a quilt from start to finish before moving on to the next project. This is mainly because I know my personality type, and once I've moved on, I thought it unlikely I'd go back to revisit. I also figure it is a lot easier to cut all fabric and then chain piece at once so I don't have to come back later and work out what the heck I was doing. But I'd been doing some scrappy squares - a string quilt and a postage stamp - so it didn't matter when I picked them up and put them down, and it's good to give it a break and accumulate some new scraps in between. When I don't feel like stitching (or it's too hot), I'll cut my scraps into 2 1/2" squares so I always have a supply. And with the heatwaves we had this summer, it has been just too hot to do the actual quilting part, so I found I had 3 or 4 tops that just need backs. So a few weeks ago, I pulled them out and got them basted! And have managed to get 2 of them quilted....progress!!

None of these have a recipient in mind but I'm sure I'll find someone worthy.

First is a baby sized Swoon in orange. I am so pleased with how this worked out. I had some trouble initially as I thought I had more cream and wanted a rectangle shape but decided to add borders and make it square instead. All fabrics were from my stash and worked together so well. The blue binding just frames it beautifully. Measures 41" x 41".

The back is from Ikea. I used it on the back of Baby Willow's quilt too and must go back to see if they still stock it as it is great for kids quilts. I also like that the Ikea fabric is quite wide so the back doesn't always have to be pieced.

Detail of the binding. I have modified the way I machine stitch binding so it looks much neater, in my opinion. I stitch the binding to the back first using a 1/4" seam. Then I pin it to the front so the edge of the binding JUST touches the stitching line from the back. I then stitch as close the edge as I can - I line it up with the edge of my walking foot so I know it's consistent - and it catches the back and the front with a line of stitching. I have tried other tutorials on machine stitching the binding but after some trial and error, this works for me.

As you can see, I stippled this one. How I love my Bernina and the BSR! My stippling looks a bit like seaweed but I'm happy enough with it. My first attempts looked more like scribble as I found it hard not to cross lines but I've morphed into this style now.

I've also finished the Scrappy Strings quilt. I love the look of these and have used them as backs before but decided to use this one as the front.

Again, Ikea fabric for the back. I quilted this in straight lines, starting with diagonal lines across the lines of the stitched fabrics, iykwim. I was going to stitch again through the other corners but decided against it in the end. I would normally quilt far more densely than this but had basted it a bit too loosely, so was worried about puckering if I tried to put more stitching lines in. End result is a very soft drape so I'm happy with that. Measures 46" x 46".

Being so scrappy and colourful, I was a bit lost for binding but then decided to go with a scrappy binding as well. Didn't take a close up of it, but there's bits of everything in there - and what is in the binding, is not necessarily in the quilt!

There are a couple of other finishes I haven't blogged about, so must put them up in the next few days as a record to look back on.