Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Squared Away - Purple or Green??

It was supposed to be one project - "Squared Away" it was called; an easy summer mystery quilt, with free clues from the local quilt shop.  Two colours, plus a colour to place circles over 4 patches.  Easy right?  No.  I loved my colour selections, however, when I started to make the quilt,  I didn't like the blocks together in my chosen colours.  Even with the border/sashing strips added, no, no, no.....  In frustration, I put the whole lot in a zip-loc bag and left them to marinate for a very long time. 

During 2017, I decided that each time there was a 12-hour sewing session with my local group, or a Retreat weekend, I would pull out a few of these zip-loc bags (I have a lot of them) and work on the contents until it becomes a finished - done done - item.

After consultation with a couple of friends at the 12 hour sewing day - I came to the decision that these would be two little quilts.

First - here's purple;

Second - here's green; 

I ended up with two of the same greens next to each other and it looked a bit "blobby", so I used left over fabrics to make a half Dresden Plate (sunflower) to make it a bit more interesting.

Both quilts were simply cross-hatched through the squares to keep them soft and cuddly.  They both have the same spotty backing and striped binding.

Moral of the story, sometimes, time away from a project can turn what seemed to be big problem - for such a small quilt - has turned into two delightful quilts for little ones.

These two little quilts will be donated to the Very Snuggly Quilts program run by Victorian Quilters.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Red and White

The great thing about fabric swaps is that you always get a good variety of fabric.  I took part in a 2½in x Half WOF* fabric swap for a year.  Each month you sent off your package(s) of fabrics and received the same number of sets in return.  I was always amazed each month that no-one sent the same fabrics to anyone else - all completely different.

I started to play with the red fabrics.  Initially I was going to include pink fabrics as well and make an Irish Chain quilt.

The final "red" selection

Not being completely sure of my plans, I took the reds (and pinks) off to a sewing day at a quilt shop.  There I found a lovely, slightly off white plain fabric.  This was the cause of the pinks being dumped.  Just red and white - I found my brain whirring overtime with ideas.  In the end, the simplest idea has turned out to be the best.

I used almost all of the reds and I'm super happy with the result.

It was lovely, rhythmic piecing - red and white alternating.  First I joined each red strip to a white strip and then I cross-cut them and sewed 4 patches and the quilt top grew from there.  I had a bit of indecision with the border before deciding to make a 'solid' red frame to complete the top.

I quilted this quilt simply with cross hatch red in the red squares and white in the white squares and a white cable pattern overlapping the two border colours.  

Cable quilting on the border.

It was then finished off with a pink backing and red binding.   Oooohhh lala........
Contrasting back
So simple, yet so pleasing to make, I am super happy with my red and white checkerboard.  To be donated to a Royal Children's Hospital (Melbourne) fundraiser as one of the silent auction items.  I do hope it will reach the $$$ value given from the professional appraisal (valuation).

*  WOF = width of fabric.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Children at the Gate aka "Happy"

I didn't think it had been that long since I made the quilt top and folded it up with the backing and binding, ready for quilting, until I started to write this particular blog post.  Hmmm....  Apparently it was 3 years ago, as you can see here in this previous post!  It was a shock to me that it has been that long.

However, there are always new babies being born, so it's a perfect gift for either boy or girl and with some wool/cotton wadding, it'll be nice and snuggly for a little one.  And, true to form, at the time of pulling out this quilt to look at it, we received news that there is to be a new baby in the extended family soon.

In mid-November 2017, I attended the baby shower for my 2nd cousin and his wife.  This quit was perfect for them.  I had two quilt tops and asked Hubby which one to give, he chose this one, which I'm glad of because they loved it.

I gifted "Happy"  for their first baby, which is due Feb 2018.  We had a beautiful afternoon, outdoors on the verandah,  playing silly games and talking.

 A nice fun and happy quilt with Dr Seuss Characters, frogs, animal alphabet and bright colours to wrap up in for some snuggle time and sweet dreams.

A peak at the animal alphabet backing fabric.
Finishing at 37in x 51.5in (94cm x 131cm), it fits beautifully into the cot.  

My cousin came out into the yard and said to me "You need to go inside and see what Master 4 has done..."  Not sure what I was going to find, I discovered that he had gone inside with the quilt, took a cushion from the couch to use as a pillow and made up the cot, ready for the baby to go to bed when it comes home from hospital, which was super adorable - he melted many hearts with his thoughts and actions. 

Pattern used:  "Garden Ladder" in Australian Quilters Companion, issue 60 (Vol 12 No 2).

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Happy New Year 2018 and ponderings

Recently I read the following statement:

" A legacy of quilts shared with others is better than a garage sale of

quilt tops after you die." Author Unkown

There is a lot of truth in that statement.  I am always surprised when I give a quilt or get asked for a quilt that someone else really likes what I do.  Yes, I have received criticism over time, but that only seems to strengthen my resolve to improve what I do and not spend too much time worrying about the [bad] critics.

I have many goals to complete for 2018 and many of them include quilts to give, keep or exhibit as well as many knitting projects and hopefully some embroidery too.

For 2018, I appear to have a goal each month until August and then it'll be time to take stock.  There are many big projects in my list.

Up to March, I need to complete the following, which are my own designs:

  • Boy cot quilt - done, needs label.
  • Girl cot quilt - done, needs label.
  • Liberty Fabric Quilt for exhibition - centre is pieced, borders started.  
  • Quilt for friend's 60th in early April (to be valued mid-March)

Other things which I have planned/started, designed by other talented ladies are:... 

a) my ultimate goal which is to complete the 1718 Coverlet by Susan Briscoe for an exhibition in the UK in August '18.  This is one heck of a big task, started, but only just.  

and: b)  in the meantime, because I saw something bright, new and shiny - I started the "Daisy Blue" BOM by Esther Aliu .  I was more than happy to let myself be distracted during this holiday period.  

Here's my centre panel so far....
The pieces are sitting on the paper pattern at the moment and still need to be fused onto the background.  I'll cut out the circles when I find my circle template.  A nice mix of hand embroidery and fusible machine applique.  I have seriously mixed up fabric genres in this one - Kaffe Fasset, batiks, fossil ferns and some more traditional patterns.  And... surprise of the day, my Hubby, who often has no opinion walked in when I was taking the photo and said "WOW, I really like this one!"  Far out, I didn't think he took any notice of what I do....

I'm feeling happy; lucky to have some truly amazing friends, access to wonderful fabrics, a good sewing room and a family who support what I do.  Yep, you guessed it, my "word" for 2018 is Blessed.

Wishing everyone, peace, love and joy for the coming year.

Monday, 9 October 2017


Surprise is certainly what DH expressed when he opened his birthday present this year!  It was this jumper (and a few other goodies as well) which I had begun knitting in 2014.

Pattern:  Sirdar Click Chunky #9390
Yarn:  Morris & Sons Estate 14ply - Mouse

14ply - brilliant, I thought, should knit up nice and quick in this lovely rib pattern.  not so, the more I knitted, the harder and bulkier it was to handle.  Perfect for winter knitting because I could drape it on my lap when the nights were cold.

My sons were with me when I purchased the wool and so they chose the colour, knowing that it was going to be for their Dad.  

A thoroughly satisfying finished project, if I do say so myself.  And... the bonus is that he loves it!! 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Little Big Stars

Pre-cut squares - A challenge?

Well, the challenge was issued on a Yahoo quilt group, and I have to admit I didn't think I'd take it up - Sewing with pre-cut squares, despite having 3 charm square packs, nicely tucked away in the cupboard with their sketches and extra fabrics.  "No, I must work on other things" I kept on saying to myself.

Fast forward a few days and I was home with two unwell sons.  I was in a bit of a funk and really couldn't seem to focus on anything.

So, I looked in the cupboard for some inspiration and one package of charm squares simply leapt into my hands.  They are so pretty, the picture I had stored with them looked so simple.  Nice, relaxing.... fun, pretty and bright... 
I had stored the charm pack, not only with a sketch with an idea of what to make, but the extra fabric for the stars was there too.

Well, now, a few days later, it's a quilted quilt.  Not huge, a beautiful little baby quilt with an interesting backing.  

A nice red binding to really make the stars pop and to tie everything together.

And the backing? - well, that became interesting too!

There were a couple of charm squares left over...  I drew 'splotches' onto vliesofix and then appliqued the splotches onto the backing for a bit of fun.

Then I sewed all of the left over 'stitch'n'flip' quarter square triangles into hourglass blocks and pieced a section for the back.  


Now, I have a fun backing and there are no left over fabric pieces.

Totally happy, despite having unhappy sons, my sewing was relaxing and they were happy because I was right there with them.  This is a definite "make again" pattern, very satisfying.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Dancing Queen......

You are the Dancing Queen, young and sweet, only seventeen....  - remember that glorious song by ABBA?   The song was so stuck in my head while I was quilting this quilt - Dancing Nines by Bonnie Hunter.

Back in October 2016, Bonnie Hunter was booked to come to a local group and teach, however, her trip to Australia was cancelled, but she did graciously allow us to still make one of her patterns.  A very clever and super fast sewing member, M, of our group, made her own Dancing Nines quilt and then proceeded to host and guide us through the day.

I cut up all of my Batik scraps in blue/green, plus a jelly roll.  There were hundreds of squares to be cut up, including a few little pink/red/orange ones for interest.

I laid out each of my nine-patch blocks individually.  That was my personal choice because I wanted to use up the fabrics evenly.

Very addictive, once I had made one block, I just wanted to keep on making more and more....

 Eventually the time came to put them together into a quilt top.  The sashing fabric is a very soft pastel batik green with leaves on it.  Making the individual blocks and then putting them all together was an absolute joy.  A very quick, fun quilt to make - did I mention addictive blocks?

I cut out the border pieces while cutting for the main quilt top.  I love how the border surrounds the blocks to give a nice frame, and the little peep of burnt orange/red to separate the centre from the border.
The binding is the same fabric as the inner narrow border.  There is the most subtle of gold metallic print on it.

And the backing, a lovely, very indulgent purchase of blue/green batik....

This is the first really big quilt that I have quilted with my new sewing room set-up, and I think I am going to have to make some changes to stop the quilt from sliding off my sewing table, especially at the back.  It was very hard work to quilt the borders because the quilt kept on falling of the table.  My piano key quilting is very wonky... ho hum...