Sunday 14 May 2023

Bungarra Court gets its day to shine!

What seems like a long time ago now, 2010 to be precise; the local quilt shop I was working in at the time was running a mystery quilt, led by one of the Tutors - Carol.  I challenged myself to make the quilt with only stash.  Turns out I had enough stash, except for 1m to make the entire quilt, including the backing and binding.

Each week a new clue was given out, until you received them all and were able to put the quilt together.  Unfortunately, there was a hiccup and the template printing for the angled squares had not been set to 100%, so some fudging was required.

Three different blocks were made, the easiest being the 'focus' fabric because you only had to cut it into squares!

How the blocks play together in the final layout is amazing, there is interplay between a diagonal chain, large stars and square-in-a-square blocks.

I got the quilt top together, which was a bit difficult, due to the before-mentioned error in the angled squares, got the borders on with some fudging - just, and I mean just, enough fabric for the borders.

Onto the backing!  I started by piecing together the leftovers, including the littlest pieces.  Then I hunted through my stash for a nice large piece to complete it.  Voila - there was enough - phew!

I made the binding, found a thread that I liked for the machine quilting, and then bundled the quilt up, put it away and waited for cooler weather before quilting it.  Well....... it sat, put away until a couple of house moves later and the year 2022 - yep, 12.5 years after starting it...  I hear that quilts, like a good wine or cheese, only improve with age  ;)  

In 2022, my friend Lizzie of Thimble and Thread Quilting was having a "sale" on quilts of a certain size and this one fitted into that category.  So, I bundled it up and took it to her.  Well.... let's just say, poor Lizzie did not have a very easy time of it - turns out one of my borders was 'wavy'.  She did an amazing job of the quilting.  We chose a nice grey-blue thread and a plant/leaf/morris style for the edge-to-edge design.

Finally, just 10 days ago, I put the final stitches into the binding and added the label.  This was timed to be able to give the quilt to my friend JMc, for a fundraiser, supporting Destiny Rescue at a "Gather the Girls" event which was held last weekend.

 My quilt was put into the silent auction on the night and raised $500.00AUD for the charity.  It is very heartwarming to know that my quilt is going to be loved and some young girls will be saved from the horrors of trafficking.  Sadly, other commitments had prevented my from attending the night, but I was kept well informed of all that happened by my friend.

Wednesday 12 April 2023

It's a block party!

Blocks, blocks and more blocks!  During the 'down-time' that is the week between Christmas and New Year, I discovered that a "block party" was going to happen during the year.

The lady running it is local to me, which is very nice and it's fun to be able to catch up with some of the other participants from time to time.

I am such a sucker for a sampler quilt.  I really didn't want to buy anything for this project, so I pulled out an untouched bundle of Fat Quarters and background fabric that I had purchased for a different project, gave them a wash and got started.  Thank goodness I washed the fabrics - there was quite a bit of colour run from some of the darker prints.  eeekkk....

Chosen fabric pack + grey sashing/border fabric.

Some of the blocks are funky and modern, others more traditional.  I'm loosely following the colours announced by the Rainbow Scrap Challenge each month, with the aim of having a nice colourwash across my quilt top.

January Blocks - Blue

These blocks are fun to make and at 6in finished, they are a nice size and not too fiddly.  

February Blocks - Pinkish

I decided not long after starting this project that I would set my blocks with sashings and cornerstones.  I cut all of the sashing pieces in the first week and the cornerstones are being cut from left over block fabrics.  So far, as I have completed the full set of blocks each month, I have immediately attached the sashings and cornerstones, which hopefully will speed up the final construction when it happens.

March Blocks - Green

The colour for April is purple and I am yet to start the April blocks.  I usually wait until the last weekend of the month, make them all at once and then put the tub away again.  I have found that this works for me and frees my mind to work on other things in-between.

What types of quilts are you a sucker for? 

Saturday 1 April 2023

21 and Houses!

This is 3 of 3 for the 21st birthday quilts.  Oh, so much fun!  What's not to love about houses that look like Melbourne's bathing boxes on the foreshore?  

Starting with a free pattern that was generously provided by Moda Fabrics when the pandemic started and we all had to be "locked down" in 2020, I found the most perfect use for what was a recently indulgent purchase of a 300 piece x 5in squares batik pack.  

I thought with the 5in pack that I would have had enough fabric to make all the huts, but it wasn't to be and so into my stash I went, which thankfully gave me enough to complete all of the houses with no repeats.

So much glorious colour!  After laying out the colours and deciding what to pair with which one, the cutting began.  And there was lots and lots of cutting.

First up, I made all of the beach hut fronts.   Contrasting doors so that you will know where to enter.

Then I made all of the rooves, some with chimneys so that you know the fire will be burning during the colder months.

After all of the chain piecing and lots of sewing, suddenly the houses seemed to come together as entire units.  Each and every one is so gorgeous!

Then they needed to laid out.  It took quite a while to lay them out and get a colour balance that I was happy with.  Yes, there was input from the rest of the family during this process.  

This is a very happy quilt.  I kept on thinking of family, fun times and being outdoors while making the houses, so hopefully those thoughts have been infused into the quilt.

For the backing, I put together 2 large pieces from stash, which as you can see from the bottom corner, was not quite enough - oh oops!  I had intended to put the label on that odd corner piece, but as you can see in the photo, I inadvertently put the label on the top of the quilt... oh dear.  I didn't realise until after I had gifted the quilt and was looking at the photos that I had done that.  L said it didn't bother him, so that's okay.   Phew!

For the quilting, I quilted in the ditch along all of the long seams and then I used a tumbling hearts pattern from 'quilting made easy' for rows of houses, to symbolize heart and home.  In the border, I made a proper frame with a cable design, like the twist on a rope to echo the beach hut theme.

I used a light pale blue/white variegated cotton thread from  'wonderfil' on the top and the back.

Ta da.... here is the finished quilt.  In the bright sunlight, the houses are positively glowing, just like a sunny day at the ocean when the sun is reflecting onto beach huts.

L is very compassionate about others.  He is very empathetic to those who are struggling and has found a career supporting those who are less fortunate and are struggling.  Here is what I wrote on his quilt label: 

Village of Houses.  Your world is all about community, family and everyone mixing in together.   These little fun beach huts represent the awesomeness of diversity when you allow the doors to be opened up to new ideas and adventures.  We wish you so much love, happiness and joy as you make your path through life. 

To be able to make and gift quilts to boys who have grown up with my own boys into wonderful young men is truly humbling.  

Finished Quilt Size:  69in x 79.5in
Gifted in Feb 2023

Pattern can be found here.

Saturday 25 March 2023

21 and Black & White #2

Another black and white quilt.  Another 21st.  This is the first of 2 quilts for twins who turned 21 a few weeks ago.  A great use of stash with left over pieces from several quilts in the colours and two pieces of good quality left over wide backs - ie:  the black and white fabrics.

I spent a whole day cutting out and carefully labelling the pieces for the each of the blocks.  While it looks simple, the placement of the black, white and colours did get a bit confusing at times. 

I took this quilt away on retreat last year to get the bulk of the sewing done and, with some help from my un-picker when I mixed things up,  I successfully completed the quilt top at the retreat.  I added a small narrow border of the black around the quilt top, just to keep the many seams at the edge of the quilt secure and to provide a small break between the piecing and the striped binding.

Yes, it does seem to play tricks on the eyes a little bit with all of the movement across the quilt top.  I really liked making this quilt top, even if the placement of the black and white through the centre with the merging of the blocks got confusing up close.

So bright in the sunlight!  These photos were snapped in the morning on the day of the twins 21st and the wind was picking up.

I used a woven Kaffe Fasset stripe for the binding because it had the perfect colours.  The backing has a large panel of the binding stripe fabric and all the little left over pieces, plus some extras were used to make a pieced panel.

Domestic machine quilting with a swirl and a row of tumbling hearts/leaves.  I used a Raiman variegated thread for the front of the quilt and a Superior Threads gold for the back.  Love, love this look, especially the gold on the back.

And, finally, here is the completed top in all of its sunlit glory.  

Because this particular M is studying to be an Environmental Engineer and is passionate about the world around him, this is what I wrote on his quilt label....

A conundrum, what to do with the environment?  This quilt represents the finding a way between the black and white of modern materialism and the protecting of nature where the greenery will always find a place to emerge.  Knowing that you will work hard to find your way, we wish you so much love, happiness and joy as you make your path through life. 

A few days after the 21st, the twins Dad called me up to say thank you.  He said the whole family was 'blown away' by the boys quilt gifts and that M almost cried when he read the label.

I've also had a phone call from their Mum expressing both her and their gratitude.

This family is very special to us.  We used to live in the same street and have remained firm friends for two decades now, despite our many house moves over the years.  The quilt for twin #2 is next week's post. ;) 

Gifted in February 2023.
Finished quilt size:  66in x 84in (158cm x 203cm).  

The pattern can be found here.


Saturday 18 March 2023

21 and Black & White #1

Black and White is so much fun!  This quilt has so many snippets of fabrics from other quilts that I've made over the years, plus a few extra bits thrown in from one of my friends.  There's been quite a bit of conversation among a couple of online and in person groups that I belong to about black and white with a splash of colour quilts lately, that I thought I'd share this one, which holds a special place in my heart.

I always had a particular friend of my son in mind when making this quilt top, but wasn't sure when I would give it to him, then we were invited to his 21st birthday, and voila! there was the impetus to get this one finished.  

We first met M and his mum when T and I were both in the new "Mothers Group" when M was 4 months old and my son was 3 months old, so a lot of love and memories have been stitched into this quilt.

The blocks are wonderfully simple and so effective when making them, each one giving it's own "wow" factor.  When I took the photos, it was a very dull weather day, with little sun and the colours in the blocks just 'popped' with their own vibrancy.

As I was making the quilt top, I came to realise that it didn't really matter if the black and white merged slightly into grey, there was still contrast between the blocks, with the lime/avocado green binding pulling it all together.

The back is black piece of wide-back fabric with a tone-on-tone print.  I quilted this quilt with a variegated Raiman rayon thread on the front and a Madiera avocado/lime thread on the back, which looked so funky.  Unfortunately I did not get a close up of the quilting on the back.

Wrapped and ready for gifting with the label reading:  

Dear M....., may this quilt join for celebrations, commiserations and all the moments that life will throw at you.  Each time you use this quilt, our thoughts will be with you, gently guiding and supporting.
Finishing at 56in x 72in, it's a perfect size for a couch quilt. 

And... one last bragging moment - when M and his partner left the 21st venue, this quilt was the only gift he took home with him, leaving his mum to pack up and collect the rest of the gifts.  An act that truly melted my heart and resulted in having a happy tears hug with T.

Completed and gifted Oct 2022.
Pattern used can be found here

Thursday 12 January 2023

A Sampler!

It all started [in Jan 2017] with being bored and not really wanting to face up the prospect of having to move house and live in a Caravan Park until the next house was ready.  You know the scene, scrolling, procrastinating, not wanting to face reality, "I really want to start something new"...  all those wonderful excuses we give ourselves?  

As I was scrolling, I came across the 182 Day Solstice Challenge - a fun, sampler quilt with blocks of all sizes jumping into the mix for the fun of playing together.  

The blocks I've made so far, laid out on a bed sheet.  The large centre block is my own design.

I started with a beautiful piece of French Linen, some shot cotton and a background.  The rest of the bits coming from my stash.  

At the time, I took my little travel machine and sewed while sitting in the "budget" cabin at the caravan park while my boys started at their new school and my DH went to work.  This project was a bit like a saving grace for me.  We were in a new town and I was looking at starting all over again with getting into new groups, finding work and so on.  It gave me an excuse to go and check out the local quilt shops and have a focus on something other than moving house.

And, after the move?  I worked on it for a little while until I lost 1 single solitary triangle from the centre panel.  Yep, you guessed it - this project has then sat in it's tub, patiently waiting in the cupboard until last week, when it jumped off the top shelf and into my hands while I was looking for something I could cut out and prepare for Friday Quilt Group.

When I opened the box the blessed lost triangle was sitting on top looking at me!  Seriously!  After huffing and puffing at myself (grrr) about the triangle, I sat down very calmly and put the block together, framed it and voila!  I LOVE that big middle block.

After making 4 blocks last Friday, I just felt happy.  It is so good to have a focus for this project and to see the direction it is heading in.  Once the blocks are completed, there will be some filler sections to make, but they can wait.😉

Today, I got all of the remaining blocks cut and they are now in plastic sleeves with their patterns, ready for tomorrow's quilt group gathering. 

**  The blocks from the 182 Day Solstice Sampler Challenge can be found here.

Sunday 1 January 2023

Happy New Year!

image from:

My wish for 2023 is peace, love, happiness and finding the joy in all that you do.

For the first time in a few years, I am feeling good and positive about the year that is ahead of us.  I have some goals that I know can achieve and; for the first time in a long, long time, my DH and I have a common goal to achieve.

First up on my NYE resolutions is to get this blog up and running again.  2022 seemed to have "sucked everything out of me" with excess paid working hours, 2 bouts of sickness and some awful family injuries/illness.  Now, the time has come to leave all of that behind and begin again - A Fresh New Start.

I have some travel planned; reduced my contracted work hours and have a goal to get some of my gorgeous projects out of their containers/zip loc baggies and see them come to fruition.

I have so many things I want to finish:  cross-stitch, knitting, quilting - piecing and actual quilting; as well as creative writing - I need my groove back!

With all that said, I am signing off now with the most heartfelt New Year wishes to all.  May 2023 bring everything that your heart desires.

Much love,

Andrea xxx

Sunday 17 October 2021

Purple Butterflies

I found this post sitting as a draft in my blog post list.  It has been waiting since 9th August 2020 to get its time to show off, simply because I hadn't taken a photo of the finished quilt!  Yes, I could have back-dated the post so that it would go in chronological order of quilt finishes, but then I decided to publish it here and now so that Purple Butterflies can have it's own time to shine.

Back in January 2017, I wrote that I had stopped working on this project 2 years earlier because I didn't like the applique thread I had chosen as it was too light.  I didn't realise at the time that it would take me another 2 years to find the right thread for the applique.  Turns out, purples are really hard to match!

Butterflies fused in place, but not sewn.

In March of 2017 we moved house to another part of the State and, you guessed it, this project was once again packed away.  Then, finally, in February 2019, I was finally able to start stitching down the applique.  I completed this task in April 2019.

Ready to get finished, with binding, backing,
 quilting and applique threads all together.

I used a beautiful dark, dark purple rayon 100wt thread, which flowed so smoothly through my little travel machine.  The stitch used was buttonhole at 2.0 x 2.0 so that I could get around some of those little circles.

Packed away again, for whatever reason, this was finally quilted.  I used my favourite tumbling hearts/leaves all over design with variegated pastel purple 50wt thread.

Seriously, this quilt, was determined to not be finished - I had to purchase some new fabric for the binding because the previous one was made TOO SHORT and I had no fabric left!!!  Arrgghhh......!!

In a stroke of good fortune, I found a fabric for the binding which matched so much better than the original fabric.  I think it was meant to be.

One single, extra butterfly was appliqued onto the backing.  She was one too many for the front, so now gets to shine on her own.  

Backing onto front peek.

The alphabet backing fabric has the most perfect colours for matching the front.

TA DA.....  here is the finished quilt.  Unfortunately the fold lines are showing, but now it's been refolded to give those creases a chance to relax.

 For a quilt that had so many issues with the making, it has turned out so soft and pretty.   I am super pleased with how this quilt turned out.  I guess the seemingly difficult ones do turn out the best!