Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Possum Magic

Sometimes there are opportunities too good to pass up.

Despite all my intentions to stick with the one quilting bee I know and love (my super awesome girls in my paper piecing bee Wombat Stew), when the idea of a round robin quilt bee was first mentioned on the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop group, my interest piqued. I adore medallion quilts and I have seen all those pictures of the super amazing travelling quilts floating around blog land. If there was one quilt bee I wanted in on, it was a modern round robin. 

Then, some of the girls from Australia and New Zealand got chatting about doing a regional bee (to keep postage and shipping times down) and I was in.

Funnily enough, when we talking about names, Wendy suggested Possums as they are a native animal in Australia and New Zealand. I found humour in that as my other bee features another Australian native, the Wombat. 

For those of you not up with classic Australian picture books, Wombat Stew and Possum Magic are two of the best loved picture books in Australia. As a preschool educator, I know both these books inside out and upside down. So when Jo suggested we name our bee Possum Magic, I was secretly a bit excited that both my bees have that connection. 

And the other Possums have talked about the Magic we'll be creating with our bee, but I also want to mention that in Possum Magic, the possums travel all around Australia - so very appropriate for our travelling quilts!

We have absolute free reign on our centre blocks, but it was a bit high pressure to pick a block worthy of being the centre of a medallion that also set the tone for an entire quilt. I have been drooling over Flying Geese patterns lately, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to try out a complex Flying Geese block. I used this paper piecing pattern called Homeward Bound but I added the border. To make the border I simply cut extra Straight Geese templates and stuck them together into a 10 goose high stack. This brought the block up from 12 inches to 18 inches.

FYI: When following the cutting directions for this pattern, make super sure you're cutting the squares into triangles correctly. I spent the whole time piecing this thinking that the background pieces were very scant and then wondering why I had so many left over.... turns out I cut them on the diagonal twice when I was meant to cut them on the diagonal once. Duh! Go ahead, laugh at me... I am!
I want to stretch myself with this project, so I decided to switch up my colour choices a little. I started with a much larger fabric pull of quite saturated prints. I ditched most of these and pared it down to a few colours when I decided to go for a dark red shot cotton for the background. It was a creative stretch, but I think I pulled it off.

This block literally took hours, but I am so pleased with the end result. I am eagerly sending it over ocean to New Zealand to have the Kiwi contingent work their magic first.

Along with the quilt block I am sending a few scraps (including all those shot cotton hsts I have left over!) from my block. We have decided this is a nice way to build some cohesiveness with the borders to include bits from previous borders.

I've also made a signature block for everyone to sign - or since Apple doesn't approve of the word 'siggy', it's a 'soggy' block.... appropriate given its raining on the east and west coasts of Australia and in New Zealand at the moment. I'm putting together a little tutorial on that.

Linking up with Alyce's Sew Cute Tuesday, which is all about triangles - yeah, I think I nailed that one!!

The other members of Possum Magic are:

Alice of Blossom Quilts and Crafts
Carla of Granny Maud's Girl
Wendy of Wendy's Quilts and More
Jo of Riddle and Whimsy
Rebecca of One Wee Bird
Sharon of Motherdragon's Musings
Serena of Sew Giving

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

2014 Lets Get Acquainted Blog Hop Starts Today

I'm so excited to be part of this year's fabulous Let's Get Acquainted blog hop, organised by the tireless Beth at Plum & June
Plum and June

I've already learnt so much from the other bloggers involved and have made some new friends. I'm working on making some changes to my blog and thinking about how I can improve it going forward... while still making sure I stick to my new mantra of quilting with no guilt, of course.
The hop kicks off today with the lovely ladies listed below - have fun checking out their posts and getting to know these gorgeous women and their beautiful quilts a little better. 
Have fun!

Michelle @ Michelle Bartholomew

Jana @ Jana Machado

Yvonne @ Quilting Jet Girl

Afton @ Quilting Mod

Barbara @ Suzy Homemaker

Mary @ See Mary Quilt

Rebecca @ One Wee Bird

Monday, June 2, 2014

Quilt With No Guilt - June Linky Party

It's here! It's time! The very first Quilt With No Guilt linky party. Woohoo!

Where Jane Creates

I've been very quiet the last few weeks, as I've been letting myself just do what I want, when I want. It's been good, very therapeutic.

I have been plodding away on my EPP Diamond Stars project... I find English Paper Piecing so relaxing. And I've discovered that I can sit in my weekly two hour planning meeting at work, baste a heap of diamonds and not be tempted by all the food we always have on the table. Obviously, following pics are not at said work meeting, but it is also very relaxing to hand stitch in bed. Man, this cat can photo bomb!

I stopped quilting for a couple of weeks when the urge to scrapbook hit. And in the theme of doing what I want, I didn't feel the obligation to catch up on Project Life first. Instead, I completed a bunch of pages in chronological order and completed two more albums in the process - go me!

I continued to work on my Wombat Stew blocks - I was Queen back in March and my quilt top is nearly ready to go, just waiting on two more blocks. For international readers, Smiggle is an Australian stationery store that every young kid I know loves. My girls are addicted. They very cleverly design their ranges in 'Colour Crews' so you can choose your favourite colour. I decided this would translate well into quilt blocks. Here's a sneaky peek...

Since my mum is visiting soon I decided I'd better get a move on with the quilt I promised her a while ago. It's a black and white log cabin and I decided to do it QAYG. It went together so fast! I now have a stack of blocks waiting for her input on the layout options. Two photo bombers this time.

I have signed on for the 2014 Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop over at Plum & June and I'm super excited about that. There have been emails flying and I'm learning a lot. But best of all, I've made some new quilty friends. A call went out about Round Robin quilts and a group of Australian and New Zealand bloggers decided to form our own group - we'll be doing a modern improv round robin or Travelling Quilt and I'm so excited. I've been wanting to do one of these for soooo long and I'm really glad I've taken up the opportunity, even if it will mean a little more work. So far, I have a fabric pull.

So that's where I'm at. Lots of things going on, but it's all good. So good to not feel that pressure to finish things up. Except for hemming my husband's new pants. Must do that.

How is it in your part of the quiltosphere? Please, come link up with what you're doing to make your quilting (or whatever kind of crafting is filling your soul with joy right now) FUN!! There doesn't have to be a specific finish or a single work in progress. You can talk about your current projects, your plans, even your feelings about quilting. And this linky will be open all month so you can stop in anytime to post or to see what others are posting about. 

Without imposing too many rules, it's nice to go visit other guilt free quilters too, so go visiting too. My goal is this becomes a community where we can celebrate the joy of quilting together, without worrying about deadlines and other stressors.