Cats & Quilts - a match made in heaven... (except maybe those stubborn little clouds of fur that latch on to the fabric!)

Kitty Quote of the Day

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul. - Jean Cocteau

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mrs Martin's Latest Swap

We have just had the latest swap from our Mrs Martin's Swap year - it has been in tribute to the Biggest Morning Tea. Every year on May 1 Karen from Mrs Martin's quilt shop runs a morning tea to help raise funds for the Cancer Council.
Here is what I received from my swap partner Glenys;
A gorgeous Red Brolly morning tea stitchery in variegated green threads. The big question is what I will use this to make???? It's a bit hard to capture in a pic but is really subtle & cute.

I also received the following goodies - a Bareroots sewing stitchery mini kit with all the threads, beautiful napkins that look like pretty little quilts & lots of yummy chocolates! Thanks again Glenys.

Now to my pressie for Glenys. I made a mug rug & brought a mug to match. Actually you won't be surprised to hear I did it the other way around - brought the mug then tried to match fabrics to it.

I was happy with my quilting. I used a heavier matching thread and was quite happy with the results. Getting well defined straight lines is a step forward for me! Even the back looks pretty spiffy, hope Glenys thinks so too.

I also sent Glenys some almond biccies, chai tea and a mini cook book on making more biccies (& I forgot to photograph it).

Great swap and now the next ones to look forward to are both of our birthdays, mine in July & Glenys's in early August. Should be fun!
I have been a bit quiet lately, lost my mojo completely - it didn't sneak away, it ran off screaming. I had over two weeks with no stitching, that is unheard of for me. As I was hoping, a Quilt As You Go workshop yesterday with the WA Quilters Guild has got me firing again. I am loving my results from yesterday so will do a post about them soon.

Happy stitching
Tracee xx

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Presents for....

.... a special little girl! My friend Frank is now Grandpa to this gorgeous little girl, Neve, born Friday 14th June 2013. It's one of those special, straight after all the action pics, even before they make them all pretty wrapped in a blankie. Three weeks early she is only a tiny little possum.

Grandpa wants to know when they iron the wrinkles out - but he is known for naughty comments. He can't wait to head East later next week to see his little granddaughter.

So I have been making a few things for this little miss. We didn't know what sex baby was going to be so had to go the unisex route with the knitting. The set I knitted is in beautiful merino wool (a Spotlight special) so super soft & pretty. A jacket, hat & booties pattern came from the book Baby and Toddler Knits Made Easy - see on my right side bar.

She is also getting two of my earlier made stuffies - the little bunny on the left, perfect for a little lady and the happy helicopter because her daddy / Frank's son is a helicopter pilot.

Also little Neve is getting this special blanket my mum gave to me, hoping in vein that it would prompt the arrival of her own grandchild. Unfortunately it was going to take more than just a beautiful, delicate blanket to make that happen so I'm sure mum would love the thought of little Neve being wrapped up in it. Look at the beautiful knitting. Mum didn't knit it, she won it in a raffle at a retirement home where some talented knitter must have spent many hours making it.  A wonderful example of a really clever knitter.

I had also cut out a baby quilt for baby X but have been avoiding it as it wasn't just right, being another unisex choice. I will make it up later as it is more suited to a baby boy and little Neve may end up with a brother one day soon.... In the mean time, there is some quick cutting happening to make a girly baby quilt out of pinwheels and pretty thread.

Happy days!
Tracee xx

Friday, June 14, 2013

Winner Winner!

Hi all - sorry I forgot I said I would draw the winner of the Mollie Makes Feathered Friends book Wednesday night. I have been feeling decidely drippy this week and the result was lots of early nights and forgetting important stuff like this.

So tonight was the night. As I use the old fashioned barrel-cat picker method, first I printed all the comments, cut them apart, ready to fold up in to little pieces - no peeking Hun-Bun!

Next step was to try the sprinkle method - sprinkle the folded up entries on top of Hun-bun while he napped. The Hawthorn - Carlton game was so exciting & I yelled so loud that poor old man did not get any sleep earlier and now I was waking him up for barrel-cat duties.

Initially there was no result. Heckling from the sidelines I said 'touch one, smell one, put your paw on one - anything HB!'

Suddenly there was movement. Paws moved, the winner was grabbed, bitten and generally slurped on a bit. Aren't you glad you are only represented by paper. And the winning entry, complete with bite marks & a bit of slurp.......

Anthea of Hibiscus Stitches!

Congratulations my friend, send me an email with your address and the book will be heading South to you. Doesn't Hun-bun look very proud of his effort.

Thank you all for joining in the fun!

Happy reading
Tracee xx Hun-bun xx

PS: I have just received an email from Mollie Makes saying they have four copies of this book to giveaway too - be in to win there too, click on link here.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

On the PIECE Train.....

There are two facets of quilting that have been on my 'to do' list for the last two years (no I won't call them New Years Resolutions - after year two my failure rate was toooo high) and finally I am dealing with one of them.

1. Machine Quilting - watch, learn, practice & more practice - hasn't happened, still scared...
2. Learn to Machine Piece - do a quilt with no stitchery, that has some difficulty factor....ahhhh!

I have said before, I am a stitchery queen, I only do patchwork to hold my stitcheies together. This is true but illogical as I come from a clothes sewing background so I knew if I really tried I might be able to be a piecer. 

When I'm a big girl (no comments necessary - maybe I should say 'when I grow up' ) I want to be able to piece like our friend Sharon of Lilabelle Lane . Many of you are wonderful piecers I know & sorry I haven't acknowledged everybody but Sharon uses fabrics I swoon over so her projects always speak to me. Usually they say 'If you weren't so scared to cut up all that fabric stash and took a lot of care with your machine sewing, you could do this too!' Quilts can be so cruel!

So earlier this year on Facebook and Samelia's Mums Blog I saw the info to sign up for the Modern Blocks Quilt-a-long being hosted on the blog And Sew We Craft. The book that was being used I had recently looked at from the library so ordered it again to have a closer look. Some of the blocks looked a little scary, lots of pieces. The worst possible was the flying geese block. I've heard making those birdies is like herding cats so didn't want to get that one. 99 blocks in the book, what's the chance anyone will pick that one. So after careful consideration, I signed up.

There are 12 bloggers hosting the QAL and each month one picks the block and posts about making it. I like that, it gives me something extra to follow & seeing what fabrics they choose to use.

I decided to use my Secret Garden by Micheal Miller fabric. It's the stack in the bottom left in my header. I brought it for a similar QAL 2 years ago but it took about 8 weeks to be delivered and this was a block a week so by then I was so far behind I didn't join in. It is also a lot of big prints so I didn't know quite how to use them. Now I am jumping in with them & I have added in another grey and some bright red.

Finally the list of blocks came out - Month 1 - Follow The Leader - the flying geese block - ahhhhhh! I contemplated & then I cogitated and finally I cut some fabric. I then procrastinated until finally I started some sewing. Eventually I had 16 little single geese that looked quite good. Little did I know, its the putting them together, flying in formation that is the tricky bit. Needless to say, me & my quickunpick are better friends because of it but I am pretty happy with my first ever grown up block. I almost pulled it apart again but decided life's too short to worry about a millimetre here & there, it's even more accurate if you express it in inches!

I choose to start with my plain fabrics, something else new for me - geese, piecing, modern choices, no prints, no stitchery - I feel like I climbed Everest without the use of oxygen!

On the And Sew We Craft blog you can see examples of everyone's block. Note I am the last to upload my block.... but it's there proudly displayed.  The pic is a little dark as I took it at night, impatient to acknowledge 'I've done it!'

The June block was much more to my level of expectation and gave me a reason to use a big print. The Spool block was fun, colourful and fast to make.

On the And Sew We Craft Blog block 2 post there are 12 Spool Blocks displayed already, including mine.

I'm glad we started with the doosey of a block, I'm feeling slightly more confident now. The July block is called Megan's Star and will be posted by Anorina of Samelia's Mum. Two blocks in & I can't wait!

Maybe machine quilting will get some love in the second part of the year......

Happy (machine) stitching!
Tracee xx


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Happy Dunsborough Holiday Giveaway

If there is one thing I enjoy when travelling, it is going to different news agencies & book shops just in case they have any craft magazines & books I may desperately need to buy as a momento of my holiday. Country newsagencies are normally the best & the one in the middle of Dunborough shopping Centre didn't let me down. Before I show you what I brought to giveaway to one of you my friends, you have to endure a few of the happy snaps of the week 'down South'.

The resort was beautiful. That was our apartment upstairs.

The restaurant & fire-side bar had delicious food & watching the last quarter of Friday night footy by the fire with a glass of Bridgetown cider was not hard to take at all!

We spent time in Dunsborough, Margaret River, Augusta, Prevelly, Canal Rocks, Busselton...... and did you know that some of the cows in Cowarramup wear spectacles?

There was wisdom to be found in Margaret River - A meal without wine is called breakfast!

A Devonshire Tea at the Cape Leuwin Lighthouse is a very good thing even during a power outage. Water boiled the old way, on the wood stove.

The beaches and rocks made for invigorating walks and fun whether on the wild West coast or the more sheltered bays.

A trek through Mammoth Cave provided a workout, shelter from the rain outside, geological splendor and a history lesson. I didn't realise Western Australia used to have Tassie Tigers, Tassie Devils, Marsupial Lions and many other long lost animal species... but surprisingly no mammoths??

Maybe more pics another day. It was a great holiday. There was rain and temperatures dropped about 5 degrees to highs of 16 by about Thursday but it was also not overly crowded, everyone we met was happy, friendly & helpful and there was always the very comfy apartment to relax in.

Young Hun-bun lived to tell the tale (tail?) of his holiday at the cattery. Mary said he was timid, had to be moved once so he couldn't see other cats, never missed a meal (like his mum) and once he was familiar with you was up for a cuddle. Now he is home, he is President of the Muma Appreciation Society - long may it last!

Now on to important matters. The book I found to giveaway is Feathered Friends by Mollie Makes.


It contains knitting, crochet, sewing, felting, papercraft & more. Following is some of my favourite projects.

Oh that peg bag is so cute! So leave me a comment letting me know you want to be in to win and Hun-bun will be prompted to draw a winner next Wednesday evening. If he fails me like he & little Brunnie did on my last giveaway then the Random Number Generator will be put to work.

Good luck!

Tracee xxx Hun-bun xx