Friday, 18 January 2019

Orange and Chocolate - part 2

Hmmm, exactly 4 years after making the quilt top and backing for Orange and Chocolate, I now have a finished quilt!

During December, at my local quilt group we were chatting about how many projects people have started and what are your thoughts for finishing them.  I mentioned that I have 14 quilt tops, backings and some bindings all together in a large plastic tub.  My intention is to quilt one per month - total 12 - during 2019.  A lady across the table from me, quick as wink, said "but you'll have 2 left over" - far too quick with her math!

When I got home, I took the lid off the tub and looked for a smaller quilt that I could easily quilt before Christmas.  I first shared my ramblings about this particular quilt in 2014....
  Orange and Chocolate 

Front of quilt with the backing and binding for the full colour combo.

I completed Orange and Chocolate a few days ago.  Yes, it has a home to go to.  Sometimes I think "I'll just finish this one" and then, quite out of the blue, a recipient appears.  Orange and Chocolate will be given to a friend who is undergoing medical treatment.  While our weather is incredibly hot at the moment, she will get cold, simply because that is what chemotherapy does to you.

Here's the front of the quilt, with it's lovely big orange flowers....

One of my friends was quite surprised by how much she likes this quilt, because when I started it she was very uncertain about the colours and the plan.  I have to admit, that without the applique flowers, it did look a little bland.  (This is the same friend who found the perfect fabric for the binding.)

The back of the quilt, with even more flowers because I cut out too many for the front.....

and a close up of the quilting, stitched with a variegated lime green thread with flowers and leaves.

Chocolate and Orange has finished up at 122cm x 160cm (48in x 64in) and will provide a much needed hug to a worthy recipient.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Zip-Loc Baggies, European Chic and French Braids

Oh lord, I have quite a few zip-loc baggies hanging around.  I have them in many different sizes and hold all manner of quilting, knitting and embroidery things.  A few months ago, I decided that I would just take one off the patchwork only shelf, which has started to bulge out of the cupboard...........

Shelf of 38 Zip Loc Bags!
and just work on what was in the bag until it became a finished project.  Well, here's the update on the first one.....

A kit purchased on a Retreat some years ago because I adored the fabric.  I took it out and started working on it.  Not long after, an intended recipient appeared - love these serendipitous moments.

Easy piecing.  Borders are another story.  In the instructions, there's either a typing error or there's an issue with the math.  The side setting triangles are not big enough, so the instructions tell you trim up the sides of the quilt.  This was quite tricky to do.  At this point in time, I still need to complete the borders.  They need to be pieced and cut to the correct length.

The second zip loc baggie holds a French Braid pattern.  I began this project in 2011 when the quilt shop I was working for asked me to teach the class.  Not my pattern, so I purchased the jelly roll, pattern and ruler to make it for myself before teaching it to others (and I wanted to keep the finished quilt).
The original pattern.
I took my goodies home, cut up the jelly roll strips into braid pieces, laid out the colours and started sewing.  So far, so good.  The next morning, at 7am, I received a phone call from the shop owner advising me not to go into work because the business was closing.  48 hours later - Boom. Gone.  Needless to say, I was devastated and so was my friend who owned the shop.

Fast forward 7 years and we arrive at 2 months ago and a conversation at my local quilt group about French Braids.  A beginner quilter wanted to learn how to make them.  Serendipity strikes again!  Out came my French Braids.  Some simple instructions and a sewing demonstration later, her braids are in progress, another member also got inspired and cut up her fabrics to make braids too; and mine are made.  Nothing like someone to sew with to spur you on.

My completed braids
The original setting pattern for my braids has been scrapped and I found a new layout.  The number/length of braids I have made is the perfect amount for this pattern.  No thought required to purchase the pattern.  
Original pattern + the new pattern
After visiting a couple of quilt shops and quite a bit of time, I have found the perfect fabrics for the large squares and the sashings....

Ready for the next step - cutting large pieces and assembly.

My quest for making all of the projects in the Zip Loc Baggies will take some time, but it is good to say I actually tackled one of my New Year's Resolutions to work on what I already had started or have "ingredients" for and not started.

PS:  I hope the rest of the Zip Loc Baggie quest works out as well as these two have so far......

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Fabulous Handbag - Sydney Satchel

When planning and then going on an overseas holiday, it's the perfect excuse to make a new handbag!  And it's also the perfect reason to use some wonderful textured European house print fabric.

For the flap and sides, I used vinyl for contrast.  A bit of playing around with the pattern layout and I managed to get the houses all with their roofs up when the flap is open.  I also love that this pattern allowed for an adjustable strap so that the bag can be worn cross body or from one shoulder.

A handy zippered pocket on the outside is great for keys and train tickets.

Not to mention, lots of useful pockets on the inside.  One zippered and the others for phone, pens and tissues.
This bag was a wonderful asset while I was travelling and now that I've been back home for a few weeks, I am still using it because it is such a good size and seems to fit me well. 

Just gotta love a really good hand-bag!

Pattern used:   Sydney Satchel by Monica Poole.

Sunday, 21 October 2018


Before I went to the UK and Germany in August, I completed quite a bit of scarf knitting, to add to the ones I'd already made so that I would have some gifts for the friends I was meeting and staying with.  Using gorgeous hand dyed and small batch made local yarns, I knitted these 3 scarves...
Above is my favourite go to pattern, of the two leaves, which interlock to form a lovely neck-warmer.  The blue scarf is knitted with pure merino and the grey scarves are from a merino, bamboo and silk mix.


This grey scarf is using the pattern Speedbumps from Steepndeep designs on the Ravelry website.

For my quilting friends, I gifted either a collection of aboriginal prints or a patchwork pattern book with local icons by an Aussie designer.

In return I was lucky enough to have been hosted by these wonderful ladies and their families as well as receiving some fantastic gifts in return and being well looked after.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Liberty Star

It's been quite a while since I last posted on this blog, but Liberty Star was entered into a couple of exhibitions and then I took a break for a while to refresh my mind.  With exhibitions that are being judged, you are not allowed to publish photos of your completed quilt before hand so that the judging can be completely impartial.

Now, I can tell the story of one of my most favourite quilts that I have ever made.

In September 2017, my husband took a work trip to the UK.  He called me from London on his last day and said he was going into the city center, was there anything I wanted.  Of course there was - fabric from Liberty!  I told him to just choose what he liked the look of.   About 20 minutes later, he called me again and said "Don't worry about the news reports, yes that is the tube line from my hotel, but because I was talking to you, I was walking and missed the train"  A bomb, which had failed to detonate properly on the underground train, had injured people and damaged the train.  Enough said.

These are the fabrics which came home.  Seven were in the pack and I added one more.  Not all my usual choice - but oh, so very nice.  
I planned a Lone Star Quilt.  I cut the strips, labelled them and started sewing......

I found the perfect background fabric, which unfortunately, is very directional.  Clever cutting was required to make sure that all of the flowers were standing up and not falling down.

 Ta da - the center is finished.  WOW - all the background pieces are going the same way and there is some 'movement' in the star - it radiates....  So happy....

Now what??  I had an idea in my head for the borders, but making them work was taking quite a bit of planning and thinking and drawing and more.

After a while, I managed to get the corners to work.  The rest of the border just flowed then.

Eventually, I had a completed quilt top.  It was huge.  Now it had to be quilted.  It took me a full week to pin baste on my trestle table.  Bit, by bit while drawing on the quilting pattern with chalk at the same time.

It was so hot and I was on a deadline.   The tension on my machine was fine while I used the walking foot in the star, but when I tried to quilt a large feathered wreath 'behind' the star with free-motion, the thread just kept on breaking, or gave me birds nests on the back.  I gave up and used the walking foot again with different a colour thread and quilted the borders.  Nice and smooth, some tension issues, but not too bad.   

Back to quilting the feathers, nope, no go.  I don't whether it was the weather, my stress at meeting a deadline or what it was, but that feathered wreath did not want to be on this quilt.  In the end I gave up, changed the thread and simply meandered the background behind the star.

Finally, late afternoon, just before the sun set, I was able to get my two teenage sons to stand on chairs and hold the quilt up for me.  It is quite heavy, finishing at 100in (2.54m) square.  But they did it.
 A few groans when I asked them to turn it around so that I could photograph the back to see the quilting...

Then, all of my hard work of quilting this very large quilt in very hot, over 40 deg C muggy weather was worth it to see my quilt hanging at the Liberty Quilt Exhibition, which was held over the long weekend back in March.
And, I managed to get the backs of two of my strongest supporters in the pic.  Very pleased with that!

After the exhibition in March, I entered Liberty Star into the Heathcote Quilters Quilt Show, 9th and 10th June 2018, where my quilt was awarded 1st place in the Viewers Choice awards.    [sorry, no photo]

Finally, I took the plunge, after being a member of Victorian Quilters for many years to enter a quilt [for the first time ever], in the "First Time Entrant, One Person" category at the Victorian Quilters Showcase, in July.  I won a ribbon!!  Highly Commended.  I'm pretty chuffed  - the competition is pretty tough.

Everything about Liberty Star is meant to be, from my husband bringing home the fabric, the design and wonderful enjoyment I had with making it.  The prize winning ribbon really is the "cherry on top".

Friday, 29 June 2018

Exciting News!!!

I am very excited to report that my version of the 1718 Coverlet has been accepted into the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, UK, for August this year.

My quilt will hang with others from around the world as well as the original piece from 1718 during the Exhibition.

I am super excited!!!!!!!!!

Photos to follow in the next few days.......

21/10/18 - Unfortunately no photos until after it has finished being exhibited!  This quilt has been accepted to be part of a travelling exhibition in the UK from Jan - May 2019, and then hopefully an exhibition here in Australia (July 2019).

Please keep checking back for updates!   Excitement continues!! :)  

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Happy Japanese

When I started making Happy Japanese, I have to admit that I was completely clueless as to what to do.  My good friend, H, was turning 60.  She rang me in September lasted year and mentioned her significant birthday.  I knew I wanted to make something for her, but was struggling as to what when she said she liked red and black in a Japanese style.

After some ruminating and sighing, I happened to glance at the fruit bowl, which was a gift from her some 8 years ago and was the perfect scheme for what she told me she liked.  Good grief, the right choices were there, under my nose in plain sight the whole time!!!

Here is my initial pulling of fabrics, which I sent a photo of to her for confirmation.  Yes, she liked my choices - phew!  By the way, H was thinking I was going a bit peculiar at the time and luckily for me hadn't put two and two together.
Now I needed a plan.  I toyed with Drunkards Path, circular patterns, and all sorts of things until I found this plan of squares on pinterest.  Apparently it is a plan for a crochet blanket.  I followed this plan, with my own fabric square sizes in multiples of 2.5in to get the size of quilt I wanted to make.

Here's how it started.... Lots of cutting and laying out on the floor for options.  I didn't use the white fabrics because they stood out too strongly and looked very out of place. 

Slowly, but surely the quilt grew.  I hand embroidered some sashiko pieces to add a textural and visual element to the other fabrics.  

Turns out, there was more variety in my stash and some newly purchased fabrics than I thought!

Here's the completed quilt.  Hubby was having a hard time holding it up for the photo, standing on a chair, outside in the wind.

And, lastly, some pics of the backing fabric, lovely red with gold ginko leaves and calligraphy on the centre fabric panel.  

 Finished off with fire engine red binding.

I quilted "Happy Japanese" on my domestic sewing machine with YLI threads in an all over swirl pattern to add movement to the very 'square' quit pattern.

I have kept the design idea page because this has turned out to be a true favourite quilt.