Wednesday 25 May 2011

Using up old fabric scraps, and bird news

Today I finally could send this lot to Jan at Oz Comfort Quilts. Can you imagine that 326 quilts have been delivered through her hands this year alone to the people who have lost their homes in floods, fires and earthquakes. She makes most of them, using donated QAYG blocks, orphan blocks or quilt tops, and sometimes gets finished quilts to deliver. I'm glad to be one of her "sub-contractors".

She will join these Quilt-As-You-Go blocks into a warm quilt and send ít with many other quilts to the areas where they are needed. I had a sub-contractor as well. The block below was sewn by a Belgian guest, Christel, who was visiting the sewing class I take from September to April. She was visiting Finland and came for one class with her hostess, one of the other students. To give her a taste of quilting I showed her the QAYG method. In no time at all she had sewn this block using my bag of strings:

I added some warm socks I knitted in the winter to go with the quilt blocks, as the weather in Australia is getting colder now for their winter.

The best thing about making the QAYG blocks for such a good cause is that I can use all kinds of fabric rests for them, and using a rough calculation I estimate that I have used 5.8 m fabric for the lot. I actually used up all longer strips needed to make them, and found a new pattern to keep me going and getting those bags empty at last: Crumb Blocks! You can  find instructions for them here in Quiltville, here in Kaite Yarngarden or here, Nancie V.'s printer-friendly tutorial. I'll show my version later when I have finished some more.

The weather has been rather cool, and our little birds still come to eat the sunflower seeds they have dropped on the ground during the winter. I was watching them the other day, and suddenly they all fled to the trees and red currant bushes. They had seen the shadow of this old fellow, who then landed on the empty place.

The picture is not very good, taken through the kitchen window very quickly, but it was enough to identify the new visitor: Accipiter nisus, Eurasian sparrowhawk. Our bird looks very different from the one in the link, but my book says the male gets an almost blueish back  and red-brown stripes on the chest with age. We have seen him several times after that, and luckily have not seen him catch any of the little bird friends.

New flowers are slowly opening their buds, and at the moment the Bergenia is the only one in bloom in our garden.

Monday 16 May 2011

Raggedy Friends Quilt, and Spring news

The Darling Buds of May - I have been watching a re-run of the life of the Larkin family based on the stories of H. E. Bates. It is a very nice series, no wicked persons who get away without consequenses, just a story of a large and loud family. Our newest buds of the month are these lilies of the valley, and with the temperatures around +10 C they will remain buds for a long time. While spending time with the Larkin family, I have also been hand sewing...

... finally the binding on the Raggedy and Friends quilt, and Andy posed for the block 11:

Here are the last three blocks, this one is 11:

And Annie is on block 10:

Both dolls are shown in the final block.

Here is the finished quilt, picture was taken in today's cloudy weather after the rain had stopped.

Thank you Kaaren, this was a fun project and I managed to finish it using only fabrics from my stash, many of them recycled. It was sometimes difficult to choose "my colours" for the ones given by Kaaren, but I think I can be pleased with the result. There are 5 ninepatches included, so I think this will qualify for Anne Marie's 9-patch challenge as my third finish as well.

For the first time in my life I have been growing tomatoes from seeds. These were sent to us by Candace and Mr. Squash as a Christmas present. Now I heard from experts that I should have started growing them indoors in March already instead of the beginning of April, but I hope that my little greenhouse cupboard will keep them warm and they will grow big and strong and happy and make lovely tomatoes.

Today I made sure we will get at least some tomatoes from our own garden: I'm making an exchange with a greenhouse-owner friend and get one of her plants agains two of my tiny ones. We will not have space for all these when they need bigger pots, so we will be giving some away to other friends as well. I couldn't imagine there would be a plant from every single seed I put in the pots! Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Squash! Mr. K. is wearing his Jersey Tomato t-shirt when he is gardening. It was a perfect fit, which is very unusual.

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Stash use report for April

Oh this was a bad month! I didn't finish any bigger projects, just a pincushion, a tissue holder and a pair of potholders, for which I used about 15 cm of fabric scrabs all together. The fabrics are all from my stash, and the potholder fabrics are all recycled, so this is naturally a good thing. Both have a 9-patch, so they qualify for Anne Marie's challenge, even when they are just a tiny project. I took the photo before the last binding was sewn on the reverse.

My only other finish, the Bag Club reversible bucket bag took about 1 m of the three fabrics all together, and that is all I managed to sew in April.

The other side of my statistics shows very big figures. The fabric store I usually use is closing business and selling all fabrics with a 30 % discount, and I have bought something every week. Big pieces of fabric, to make backings, and lovely pieces that have been too expensive until now. Can you believe it: 19 m in all. (I wrote it small so you would not notice how much it was.) Soon there are no nice fabrics left in her shop, so I don't need to buy them any longer. And I hope to get at my Raggedy and Friends quilt this month; it only requires quilting and binding, and then I can count all the fabric I have used for it since last Summer. I'm also working on a jacket for myself, and a slip for a dress, so I think things will look better for May.

I hope you have had better results than I for your using your stash and (not) buying fabrics in April.