Monday, November 28, 2011

Ruby dear

I'm linking up to Lee's Work-In-Progress party today. Check in there to see "how everything is doing!"

The blogging police will be coming to check up to see that an impostor hasn't moved in - this is my third post in under a week!

With a bit of momentum under my belt, I put my foot to the floor and finished off my Ruby Dutchmen's Puzzle quilt. I've really enjoyed this one, the flying geese were fun, and I love the colours of Bonnie and Camille's gorgeous fabrics. It wasn't without its challenges however - the borders were more than a little tricky, but I'm very happy with how they've turned out.

While I was enjoying playing with Ruby, I thought I'd press on and make another block to be turned into a matching pillow.

And now I'm turning my attention to this big project, quilting Lilly Pilly. You can read about my progress on this quilt here and here. I don't even want to think about how long the quilting will take. I am going to do the full swirly catastrophe on it. It is, after all, 1.4 metres high by 1 metre wide. All that swirly quilting will take a long time and I want to take it easy, and hopefully avoid any repeat of my elbow problems.

So in between quilting sessions, I'll also be turning my mind to Christmas preparations - much as I'm in denial that it will be December this week and I really am so unprepared, even more so than in previous years.

If you have any top Christmas organising hints, I'd love to hear them! My first task will be to put up the advent calendar. I really love this idea - maybe next year!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Getting busy with the binding today. I do love a little stripey binding. I love this one so much I bought rather a lot of it. Then I bought a bit more.

Because you never know when you might need some more stripey in your life.

It makes me happy.

Scroll down for more pics of the birdie quilt, if you so desire! (God knows there are a few).

Thanks for visiting! I'm off to visit some more creative spaces.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Oh my goodness I forgot to blog!


I'll keep this short as it's late and I really should be in bed! Lots of sewing going on in the Elefants house at the moment, thanks in part to the new arrival:

A couple of WIPs to show you today. (There are a few others too, but I'll just stick with two, in the interests of brevity, and hopefully to be able to provide more fodder for blogging over the next little while...)

I've had this little birdie in a tree lurking in my WIP pile for a very long time. It's from a pattern by the marvellous Kellie. I had already started the quilting but wasn't very happy with it so put it away. With the lure of a new machine, I thought I would try and finish it. And I have! And I LOVE swirly quilting on my new machine, it quilts like a dream. I'm so happy with how this one has turned out. So I hope you don't mind the plentiful photos...

The binding has been added since I took these pics, now in the process of hand-sewing it down.

I've also embarked on a Swoon quilt. I bought Camille's pattern approximately five minutes after she released it back in May and had my heart set on making it in French General fabrics (of which I have a rather large, ahem, stash). Two blocks done so far. These are fun to make but deceptively rather intensive! Lots of cutting and trimming. But beautiful! And big! 24 inches.

And one more birdie pic!

Linking up to Lee's WIP party today.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Birthday party

Not so much sewing happening here, I'm afraid. Young Finn has turned 5. Hard to believe. He's been through such a lot in his short life, starting with his surprise arrival 12 weeks early. Seems weird looking back on that now. And 5 seems like a pretty big milestone, in the scheme of things.

So what better way to celebrate than with a dinosaur party?

Cue one dinosaur cake.

A game or two of pin the tail on the dinosaur.

And just having fun.

A gorgeous day for my sweet, funny, sometimes puzzling and exasperating boy.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A hex on this year going too fast!

Despite my best intentions, I once again find myself realizing it has been rather a long time since I (a) did any 'real' sewing and (b) blogged about anything at all. Life just kind of gets in the way, and all I can do in the in between moments is daydream about the numerous projects that are either underway, or that I would like to start.

I really should start documenting them all. Isn't that what a blog is for, anyway?

So, for today's work in progress, I hereby show you my progress with the hexy project, aka paper-pieced hexies. I'm really enjoying these, although they are rather slow, but nonetheless quite fun to do in the evenings in front of the box. And I'm enjoying starting to think about the secondary shapes and patterns that you can make with them. Fun. This might take quite a while to finish, but that's quite ok with me!

So, a little disclosure here. And let's hope my husband is not reading this. Here are the main goals:

Ruby dutchmens puzzle quilt (blocks made, sashing and borders to go)
Sherbet pips quilt (sandwiched and ready to quilt)
French General framed boxes quilt - approx half blocks done
Finn's very overdue baby quilt. Ahem. Ok this should really be at the top of the list. He has just turned 5. How, I do not know.
Lilly Pilly (appliqué done, awaiting quilting)
Swoon quilt - one block done
In Spring quilt - barely started. Some shapes traced onto fusible.

Quilts I want to start - have the materials, just need some more hours in the day!
Whirligig from Sarah Fielke's book
Prints Charming rocket quilt
Sarahjane children at play quilt
Little apples quilt
Tula pink windmill quilt

I know. It's ridiculous! So, how many projects do you have on the go?

For more works in progress, head over to Lee's.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Finally - a finish!

This quilt, in the making since January, was finally gifted to its recipients today (my sister and BIL, as a housewarming present). Before the gifting I actually remembered to take some photos. So often I forget.
Some of my favourite prints are in this quilt. So I may just have to make myself another. The solid is a Robert Kaufman linen/cotton. Hand-quilted with Perle 8 thread in various reds and pinks.

I love the binding on this - alternating Amy Butler dots and Keiki (the name of the line escapes me at the moment).
Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My creative space

I've been absent - again! But not idle! Ninety-six flying geese, now flying in formation like so:

Now for the sashing and borders...

Fabric is Ruby by Bonnie and Camille. More details to follow, including my flying geese tips!

I'm so in love with these, just want to keep staring at them! But that would not be very productive, would it? Instead I'll go and visit some more creative spaces on display here. And then some works in progress here.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Works in progress

I often have the feeling that I take on way more than I can ever hope to achieve - even given a few rare hours of sewing time, I think that I'm going to get done way more than actually ends up happening. Not sure what the solution is, but part of it is probably about being more organised and having things ready to leap into when the opportunity strikes, rather than having to start with the preparation - fabric selection, cutting etc.

Anyway, having said that, my few hours of sewing time did see some achievements today and I do feel like I'm making a small dent in my pile of commitments.

First up a couple of blocks for quilts being put together by Sarah Fielke for her friend Amy who recently lost her husband to cancer. Such a terrible thing and he was so young. It's wonderful to be able to share the gift of a quilt with a friend and Sarah has been able to pull together blocks from all around the world to turn into quilts for Amy and her daughter. Amy is a big Kaffe Fassett fan, so this is what was called for. I'm more than happy to spend a little time cutting into my Kaffe stash.

Next up - starting on a Dresden plate block for Kelly in the Sew Australia bee. Lots of fun making this - I don't know why I haven't done one before!

What are you working on this week? Do you also think you're going to get more done in a set time than actually ends up happening? Or is it just me?...

More works-in-progress over at Lee's

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Small bloggers unite!

Here I am again, with nothing new to show but a hello to everyone visiting via Lynne's Small Blog Meet. I've known Lynne since I joined a bee - Fresh Modern Bee 2 - that she was setting up over a year ago. Lynne is an amazing, inspiring quilter - she hasn't been quilting for all that long, but has such an eye for design and colour, and is always coming up with the most amazing concepts that you've never seen hinted at anywhere before. She's truly original. And she's very funny too, as you would know if you've ever read any of the slightly off-topic threads in her Flickr group.

So thanks Lynne, for the inspiration and the encouragement. My little blog has been idling along, often neglected, but I'm almost at 50 followers so theoretically won't be eligible for the Small Blog Meet anymore :( But I will still enjoy visiting other new blogs and meeting more of you. Seeing so many new projects just inspires me to keep going and sewing! Hopefully there'll be something on my blog that will give you a little inspiration too. That would be lovely! Please let me know if there is!

Anyway, the picture you see above I say is not new, but I guess it is new because I haven't shown it here before. It is a quilt I made for my Mum's 60th birthday back in June. It bears the dubious distinction of being the quickest quilt I've ever done from start to finish. But that's a story for another time.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I love hand quilting

Here's a little milestone - I started this quilt all the way back in January, and now I've just finished the hand quilting of it in red and pink Perle threads. So enjoyable, I'm a little sad it's finished and will have to find another hand quilting project to take on. Think, think, think!

Please excuse the poor quality photos - my camera battery is of course flat, so these are taken with the iPad camera which is, shall we say, fairly ordinary!

This one is destined as a housewarming gift to my sister and her husband who have, after months and months of searching, finally purchased their first home. They pick up the keys tomorrow - so excited for them!

Now for the binding....

I'm linking up to Lee's work-in-progress Wednesday for the first time in ages. Hi Lee! Lee has done the best flying geese block I've seen in a long time - must try this one!

What's your work in progress this week?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Trim, trim, trim

We are still in the same busy predicament, but thankfully there was a little time for sewing this week. I have fallen behind with my bee commitments and must rectify!

First up is a half-square triangle based block for Kelly. I do love me a half-square triangle or two. Such a simple concept, seeminly limitless possibilities. The only part I don't like, however, is the trimfest that has to happen on each little square, to relieve the square of its dog ears and make sure it is, in fact, a square. Otherwise you end up with wonkiness, which we don't want, in this case.

While trimming these little ones (and aren't they pretty - I'm not sure which fabric line this is and perhaps I'd best not ask because it might force me to purchase some), I experimented with a few different methods of squaring up. I don't know about you, but I need to find some more techniques that save time!

What worked quite well I think, was to simply snip off the ears (not too precisely, to begin with). Then lay down the square with the diagonal running upwards from left to right, with the bottom side square against a line on your cutting mat. Hopefully the left side will also be square against its cutting line, but don't worry if not. So, with bottom squared up, trim the right hand side as necessary - in the case the squares were trimmed to 2.5 inches. Then rotate clockwise so the just-trimmed edge becomes the bottom edge, and trim again. With any luck that's all the trimming you'll need to do, but it's quick enough to check with your ruler.

I ended up trimming two squares at once and this seemed to work quite well too.

And here's the final layout for the block. Unfortunately there wasn't enough white fabric to complete it, so I'm going to sew as many rows together as I can and then Kelly will complete it.

Next up - a dresden circle which will be interesting!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Yes I'm still here!

Hello everyone! Thanks for bearing with me through that extended break in transmission. Its so nice to see in my visitor stats that people are still dropping in regularly. Hopefully from now on there will be a bit more to see than posts that are 4+ months old!! Let's just call it a winter blogging break, shall we? I know I always seem to be saying this, but I can't believe how quickly this year is flying by. My lack of blogging is certainly not due to there having been nothing happening here in the Petitselefants house!

Winter has been really cold this year, or maybe it's just that I'm getting old and am feeling it more?.... But at last there's a little hint of spring in the air and I can't wait!

There are also some exciting things happening which I will share with you soon. But for now, just a little taste of a couple of new projects...

Some Sherbet Pips in progress - there are some plans for this quilt so this is all I can show right now.

In a moment of weakness I joined Lynne's hexalong - English paper piecing, inspired by this quilt.

At this rate (this is all I've got to show for about three weeks of occasional evening TV sewing - yes it's slow!!), I could be finished in ooh about 27 years.

I'll be back with some more WIPs soon.

In the meantime, I've also become a Pinner and a Twit so please come and follow me!

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's a chocolatey weekend... for some

Yes, because a few weeks ago we bit the bullet and decided to go on a "diet" (I only need to lose a little, maybe 3kg, Craig a bit more than that), I guess we won't be having chocolate this weekend... much. Some might think you can get the same kind of endorphin rush from fabric! Is that true? Maybe...

Anyway, here's what I've been up to.

I finally found a spare moment(s) to piece together the petals for the very large Dresden circle. Hooray! It looks beautiful, don't you think? I then enthusiastically launched into the next step which involves piecing a circle into the centre. It actually is not as hard as it sounds. However.... because I failed to measure the inner circle formed by the Dresden petals before sewing in the circle piece, it ended up as a big puffy pillow in the middle. Oh dear. I'm not even going to share the photo. Lynne suggested I could leave it in and "quilt out" the puffiness. But I'm not taking any chances and have unpicked it (oh the pain!) Turns out the circle is half an inch smaller than I thought it was (hence the circle going into it was half an inch too big). So, starting again on that one.

I also made these fabulous bee blocks for Allison in FMB2 - I can say fabulous because the design (and of course the fabric choice - Central Park) is all hers. I loved making these blocks and have added this to my list of projects to make for myself. Ahem.

Then I whipped up this bag for my friend - it was supposed to be a Christmas present. Last year. Oops.

And finally - look what the postman brought! My doll quilt! From Safieh in Texas. Beautiful colours and an amazing design. And some sweet extras as well. And meanwhile my doll quilt has arrived safely at its destination too - Shayla!

And now we're off on a bike ride around the lake, enjoying the tail end of the lovely autumn weather. Traditionally from next week it just gets very cold!

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

DQ - finished!

DQ - finished! by Petitselefants
DQ - finished!, a photo by Petitselefants on Flickr.

It is done! This little quilt is currently mid-air enroute to its partner. Can't wait to hear that it's arrived and hoping that she loves it! Meanwhile I'm patiently awaiting the arrival of a parcel from somewhere in my letterbox.

It's been quiet on the blogging front recently due to a few technical disruptions. I've been catching up on some commitments - 3x6 bee included - nearly done!

Oh and did you know Sherbet Pips is finally here! Dreaming about what to make and what I'll need to make it with. But then there's still my Bliss quilt to make, not to mention, Lilly Pilly to finish, and a birthday quilt for my mum (not yet started).... and, and, and! Help!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Going round in circles

Dresden attempt #1 by Petitselefants
Dresden attempt #1 a photo by Petitselefants on Flickr.

I've said it before. I don't need another project. But how could I resist Lily's Quilts Dresden Quilt-along?

I've gone for a selection of French General fabrics - from the Rouenneries, Rural Jardin and Lumiere de Noel collections, mainly because my stash is practically bottomless and there's plenty to choose from without compromising on future quilt options with those fabrics. I'm just going for the one block version rather than six. If I'm just dipping my toe in the water, let's not go overboard!

Here's Lynne's gorgeous Sherbet Pips version. (Image from Flickr).

Fancy a Quilt-A-Long?

There are already lots of amazing versions popping up in the Flickr Group, including a very sweet mini version (using a charm pack) by Agnieszka.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Work in progress - my creative space

Contents: Lots of 6 inch squares of linen, combined with squares of some of my favourite fabrics.

Method: Sew them all together, stand back and smile. Fold up and put in the cupboard for two months. Ponder quilting options, in between other quilting projects. Decide to hand quilt. Hurrah!

Expected date of completion: Not a clue. But I like to have hand sewing projects at the ready, and with Lilly Pilly nearly complete (at least the hand sewing part), I needed another one.

More beautiful things over here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Put a bird on it!

My arm is gradually feeling better and I've seized the moment to catch up on some machine time. Here's what I've been doing this weekend.

1. Working on my doll quilt. I'm still at the quilting stage. As I may have mentioned once or twice before, although I do love my swirly quilting, it takes an inordinate amount of time. Anyway, we are getting there! I estimate it is about 75 per cent done. This will be hard to part with! I hope my partner likes it as much as I do!
2. Working on some bee blocks for the 3x6 sampler bee. This is where you're grouped with 6 other crazy girls, you choose a block style and then make it in their choice of colours. So six colour ways of the same block. You theoretically have three months to complete your blocks and send them off (and in turn receive six different style blocks in your own choice of colours). This time round I've chosen a wonky star block. (I say theoretically, because it seems some people take the three month thing as a lower limit.... This may or may not include me.)

This is block #3 (the other two I made some time ago, before my arm went kaputt). Very happy with this one!

And this is block #4.... Hmmmm. I'm not sure about this one, as you can see I kind of over-exaggerated the wonk on one of the star points! Not really on purpose, but just not really thinking about what the result would be. On the one hand, I really like it. On the other hand, I don't know if the intended recipient will like this level of wonkiness. It's not for everybody.

Anyway, I would really love to know what you think!

**Please leave a comment and let me know if you like the extra-wonkity star block, or if I should pick it undone and try again!!**

3. Finally - OK this one doesn't involve the machine, but I have to report on it, because I've reached the milestone of having all the leaves in situ. Did you notice how I dropped in a little Latin there? Granted, the leaves are not all sewn down, but nearly all of them are - well, there are 32 leaves left to sew. At the current rate of sewing these should all be knocked over by next weekend.

If you look closely you might also notice that my tree has grown a flock of birds. Who are at the moment still wingless. Not to mentioned legless. I had to put these in at this stage to facilitate accurate placing in situ of the final set of leaves. In contrast to the leaves, the birds are not hand sewn, but raw-edge machine appliqued (along with the trunk and branches). This stage happens after all the leaves are done. So - soon!! And then more swirly quilting!! Hooray! I might even run a little competition to estimate how many hours the quilting will take.

And, finally finally, just had to share with you this video I found about how things are so much better when you put a bird on them. I couldn't agree more!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Checking in

A work-in-progress post!

Yes, it's been ages since I last blogged, life has been busy! I can't believe it's already halfway through Term 1. Halfway!! The year will be over before we know it.

There hasn't been an awful lot happening on the sewing front, mainly because of Mr Tennis Elbow who has well and truly outstayed his welcome. (Not that he was welcome in the first place). It has been a long road. Six weeks. But I'm nearly there. Sewing maching activity has reduced to practically zero (I had a quick 15 minute burst last weekend just to test the waters, and happily survived without a repeat of my last attempt).

On the upside - handsewing has been going gangbusters. I didn't believe Kellie when she said that Lilly Pilly was a quick project. I thought, mmm sure, that will sit around in my cupboard for at least 5 years before it gets finished. But - au contraire - the tree is growing very nicely! Of approximately 130 leaves I have sewn down 92. Yes that's right - 92 leaves!! Mainly at night in front of the TV. Not every night, but on the nights when I get it out of the - ahem - project cupboard - I usually get about 6 to 8 leaves sewn.

Added to the sewing part is the preparation part, which is, shall we say, a little tedious and not as much fun as the sewing part (tracing, cutting out, ironing onto fabric, cutting out again, trimming, gluing the edges, setting out the leaves on the tree, gluing, pinning). I won't try and estimate how much time that takes. But nobody says you have to prepare 130 leaves at once. If you break it up, do a bunch at a time - easy peasy!

The progress should actually be one that looks a bit more advanced than this. But I am having such an unenjoyable time trying to upload photos to Flickr at the moment that I just can't be faffed with another one, this will have to do. I'm sure you get the picture by now!

So, there it is - nearly done. The quilting though.... that will be a gargantuan effort. Let's discuss that some other time!

More works in progress at Lee's.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lily's Quilts: Moda Bake Shop and a Giveaway

Lily's Quilts: Moda Bake Shop and a Giveaway

As an avid collector of fabric and lurker of fabric blogs and online shops, I think I'm pretty up to speed with what's out there and what's coming soon. This beautiful little fabric line has a real buzz about it, lots of people are "talking" about it on Flickr and in the blogosphere, although it is not officially available until April. Some lucky people have already got their hot little hands on some though, not least of whom my Flickr friend (I hope she doesn't mind me calling her that) Lynne of Lily's Quilts, who was lucky enough to be able to design a quilt for Moda Bake Shop with it. The result is a spectacular hexagon quilt which showcases the cute little designs from Sherbet Pips so sweetly.

Lynne is running a giveaway of a layer cake of Sherbet Pips, which I'd fall all over myself to win. And if I don't, well I'll have to make the fabric budget stretch a little further to get one.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I'm an idiot

My doll quilt is well under way, but to say I might have overdone it is probably putting things mildly.

For about a month now my arm has been a little 'hurty' - actually, it started in my elbow. About two weeks ago it started to get really bad - spreading up into my shoulder and neck and down into my hand. Arrgghh. I thought I had RSI. I couldn't sleep because of the pain. Off I went to the doctor. Diagnosis, tennis elbow. I don't even play freakin' tennis!! Apparently very common in mums of young children. All that lifting. Scrubbing. Nappy changing. All those wretched car seat wrangles. Treatment, anti-inflammatories - tick. Physio - pah, who has time to go and organise that while school holidays are in full swing??

Anyway, it *was* feeling about a million times better. So I thought I'd give it a blast with a spot of swirly free motion quilting. Quite possibly the worst thing you could do when your elbow is feeling a little worse for wear. So, now I'm paying for it, and I won't be touching this for at least a week or two.

Who says we don't suffer for our art?

I hope you are all well and unemcumbered by quilting injuries!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Here goes - my first doll quilt

I have agonised over this one quite a bit. You see, I always thought I would do a tree for the DQS, but it seems this is a pretty popular idea and I didn't think I wanted to do be seen as derivative. But then I realised, even though there are quite a few trees appearing in the swap, they are all quite different. And, moreover, everyone seems to love trees, I'm sure I can't go too far wrong with this.

I'm very happy with the colour palette I've chosen, which is a little outside my comfort zone (I would normally have gone with one tone, rather than so many). So - mainly pastels, but then a few reds and oranges to add some contrast, and I like it! The fabrics are almost all Amy Butler (Love) and Kaffe Fassett, plus some Valori Wells.

So far so good! Check out the growing pool of doll quilts over at Flickr.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blissful, and a clever girl

One of my very favourite designers is Camille Roskelley. She makes the most beautiful quilts, has a beautiful family and look at that, a polka-dot armchair! I have her first book which is packed full of said beautiful quilts and I can see myself making pretty much every one of them over the next few years. Oh, and she also designs fabric for Moda - how clever! Bliss is the current line, I have a growing stash of it. I also love her previous line Simple Abundance, which featured in this quilt.

Anyway, she is running a giveaway on her blog at the moment. I would love to win, mainly because I cannot get enough Bliss in my life, and perhaps you would too. Head over there and leave a comment which specifies what your dream is.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

DQS10 - Let the fun begin!

I have been dying to be part of the Doll Quilt Swap on Flickr almost as long as I've known it existed. I love the fact that like-minded quilters will make beautiful little pieces for each other, it gives you the chance to stretch your creativity but just focus it all entirely into one small piece - so the results are more often than out totally amazing. There have been so many beautiful little quilts pop up in the DQS photostream, it's mind-boggling what people can come up with and translate to a tiny quilt.

Anyway, I'm thrilled to have been picked to participate in this round. We haven't been allocated partners yet, but I've already been thinking about what I might make. I've put together this gallery - with the purpose of pulling together some beautiful pieces that I'd love to emulate and also show my partner the kinds of things I like.

If you haven't checked out the DQS Flickr stream - go and have a browse! There's also a blog. One of my extremely clever Flickr friends Lynne has got a post there at the moment. If I could come anywhere near her fantabulous quilt she made in the last round I will be hyper-ventiliating.

And now to a spot of sewing. This month it's Krista's turn - she sent some beautiful natural linen and a selection of yellow prints, all completely lovely. Funny that I have never thought of yellow as being a very interesting colour to work with, but I really enjoyed working with these. I think I might need to start collecting a few yellow pieces. Hmmmm. The theme for Krista's month is circles and I obliged by drawing different size circles onto stitch-and-wash, and appliqueing them to the linen. I hope she likes them!