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!

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. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2018


When I realised we had a family gathering at our house for Easter Sunday, and that my neice's birthday is close to that date, I couldn't help myself, I had to make a cake with pink.  Something that is very rare in my house of boys.

A pale pink, nice and subtle is what I had hoped for, nope, I poured a bit too much food colouring into this icing....

A beautifully, feather light chocolate sponge, made by me.  I am so pleased with how the actual cake turned out - it was perfect and I quite surprised myself with that one!

Decorated with wafer flowers and Persian fairy floss, my niece's eyes lit up when I showed it to her.

Gathered around the outside table, we managed to shield the cake enough to stop the wind from blowing out the candles and sing happy birthday.  There was very little cake left afterwards - it was  delicious.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

March is for Donating

During March, the time of Lent, it is a time to give something up and also to think of others in their struggles.  For me, in my own personal life, there are two amazing women who do a lot of work to support very sick children.

As I've written in some previous blog posts about donating quilts, here are some quilts that I've finished over the past 12 months and they have not found homes, so I'm donating them to the Very Snuggly Quilts program, which supports long term or terminally ill children at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.
Squared Away - Green

Squared Away - Purple

Little Big Stars

Orange and Green 9 Patch

And for my beautiful friend E, who runs a Royal Children's Hospital fund-raiser each year since her daughter died, I have donated:

Blue Stars

Red and White Checkerboard
* As a side note, I took the two quilts (above) to a professional appraisal/valuation, so that their true value can be put onto the silent auction form.  A very interesting experience, if a bit nerve-wracking!  You leave your quilts and then pick them up a few hours later.  It's all in their hands and you really have no idea until you read the valuation certificate after collection.  And... my nerves were all for naught - the valuations surprised me and the ladies who are the "officials" of the day were wonderful.  A process I shall certainly take part in again.

And..., one more donation to the Lions Club of Quilters for their bushfire victims collection, I am donating "Cobblestones and Bricks", which was my very first quilt that I made a pattern for.  It now has a chance to go to a good home and be loved now that the pattern has been retired.  A good "manly" quilt this one to be sure.
With donating quilts and being asked to take part in a donations program, you know there is always someone out there who will receive a good quilt hug.