Monday, 29 December 2014

Cobbled Nines

In 2008 I took part in block swaps of 9-patches and cobblestones. It was fun to send off your blocks and receive surprise packages in return.

In 2012, I took part in a class, 'blocks on parade', where the aim is to use up your odd blocks and pieces of fabric.  I found it hard to focus with this particular project at the time due to some other issues going on in the background, which is a shame because the Teacher on the day was nothing short of amazing with how she could put the oddest pieces together and come up with a cohesive quilt.

With everything being made from black and white, I put the three projects together into a zip-lock bag and then added a good dose of of zero inspiration, simply because I could not figure out what to do with them.  

From humble beginnings way back in 2008 and some extras being thrown in from time to time, the "pot" or rather zip-lock bag was shaken up and stirred around the sewing room a few times.  Eventually a quilt top had to come out.

Here is the result of a recent burst of creativity from the percolating zip-lock bag.  The blocks, after breaking the seal on the bag, spilled themselves out over the lounge-room floor and jumped around for a while.  When they settled down, they then demanded I sew them together, to make "Cobbled Nines".

Not quilted, but pieced "Cobbled Nines" quilt top.
Thankfully each of the projects used 6in (finished) blocks, so they all fitted together nice and snug.

The males who reside in this house love it.  The quilting buddies also like it.  And, I found a fantastic fabric for the backing in a red spot sale bin, which is washed and joined ready to go.  

The binding is already made, using left over batik fabric from when I made my knitting bag.

I've chosen a silver metallic thread for the quilting, which I think will work really well.  Using plain grey thread in any shade was just a bit too dull when I laid it/them on the quilt top.

It feels good to put 3 projects together with some extra bits and make one funky quilt out of it all.  

Monday, 22 December 2014

Work Christmas Gifting

At the beginning of 2014, I started working in a secondary school, which was completely new to me, in a role that was so far removed from anything I had ever done previously that I wondered what the heck I was doing at the end of the first week.  I am completely indebted to the person who took a chance on me after I went through the application process. 

After starting the job, I went 'back to school' to get a qualification.  I was thrown completely in the deep end while working and studying at the same time, but with some gentle guidance, I got through.  The team I work with are amazing.  I feel that they all supported me (and each other) 100% and I wanted to make a gift for them so that I could say 'thank you', without commercialism or being over the top.

Here's what they received - hand-stitched cross stitch bookmarks, with Australian Natives on them.
Dampiera, Wattle,Wax Lip Orchid and Isotoma

Grevillea, Flannel Flower, Emu and Rhododendron
Unfortunately, the mental list in my mind missed one person, so she will receive her gift when we start back at school/work after Christmas.  Yes, I did have a sinking feeling moment when I realized my error.

One present I didn't take a photo of is the hand-made bottle opener made from bicycle chain which I gave to the 'cool dude' of the team.  He received a different present because a cross-stitched bookmark for a 21 year old footy player would be a little too weird.

** Patterns for the bookmarks are from Danico Designs, Australia.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Florentine Notes - bragging....

In a moment of thinking 'I can do that'  and really liking the fabric, I decided some time ago to take part in the Rotary Textile Challenge which is run each year at the Tasmanian Craft Fair on the Melbourne Cup Weekend.  The challenge is sponsored by Chandlers Cottage.

Here is an excerpt from an e-mail I received yesterday from Chandlers Cottage:

"This week I’m excited to let you know we are having the 12 finalists from this year’s Rotary Textile Challenge in the shop – woohoo!
These include this year’s winner, Barbara Mellor from Tassie with her sensational Peacock, and our own local VIP customer Andrea Hall with her magnificent Florentine notes."  Leesa Chandler
Photo taken by Andrea Hall
To say that I am excited would be an understatement!  I am totally over the moon by this.  It is an absolute honour to have my quilt chosen among the quilts to spend the next 12 months travelling around Australia.

I would also like to say Congratulations to the winner - Barbara Mellor - whose incredible peacock quilt can be seen here

The Rotary Textile Challenge raises awareness (and funds) of the incredible work Rotary Clubs do to support local communities.  So please, click on the links I've provided within the text and support those who support our local communities - volunteers are the most important people around.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Orange and Chocolate

Hmm - who thought this post was going to be about food, with a heading of "Orange and Chocolate"?  I have to say, the idea of orange and chocolate did make me think of orange flavoured chocolate!  Which, by the way, I happen to love, especially when it's made with dark chocolate.... mmmm.... going to raid sweet cupboard now....

Ok - back again.  My orange and chocolate story is about a quilt.  The original pattern only had 9 blocks in the quilt and I wanted to include 12 blocks.  I had started to make this quilt as a help to a friend who was struggling with the 'stack'n'slash' cutting method, so I grabbed some fabrics and cut beside her, taking her through the process; step by step.

The front of the quilt is mostly greens, with a bit of chocolate and lots of nice fresh green.

However, the back is all chocolate and orange... 

... with some teal coloured deer.

There are flowers on the back of the quilt, because when I was cutting out the flowers for the quilt front, I just kept on drawing and fusing and then my flower garden bloomed profusely.  I had to plant those extra flowers somewhere!

One of my friends did ask why I was making this quilt - she really didn't like it before the flowers went on - and my response was, because it makes me happy to be helping another quilter with her cutting and the freshness of the fabrics also made my happy.

The pattern for this quilt is available from Patchworks Unlimited.   Sorry, I don't remember the name of the pattern and it is lost in the mess that is my sewing room.

I have no idea what colour or pattern of fabric to use for binding on this quilt, so any suggestions are welcome.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Ladder Climbing

Bored, I was.  A little bit tired of making Honour Quilt blocks in my marathon session to catch up with the monthly block issues, I procrastinated by looking through some magazines.  While looking for something quick and easy, that I could make in one afternoon, I found the pattern "Garden Ladder" in Australian Quilters Companion, issue 60 (Vol 12 No 2).

In my stash I found the following fabrics:
Three of the Fat Quarters were new fabrics from a retreat purchase - the visiting shop had so many exceptionally nice pieces that I just had to have, and the others were either left overs or un-used from other projects. 

Finishing at 37in x 51.5in (94cm x 131cm), this pattern makes a great baby quilt.  I have chosen a red binding, but it'll be a while until said binding is attached because I have to quilt it first!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Honouring Our Heroes

Over at Kilmore Quilters, one of the Members has set a challenge for the 100 years of Anzacs next year.  She got to thinking during late last year and came up with the "Honour Quilt".

Not to leave any stone un-turned, she has researched soldiers from Kilmore, so each month we receive some block patterns and the history of a local soldier from WW1.  

I had fallen behind with my blocks, but have been working very diligently on the blocks since the September school holidays and am now much closer to being completely up-to-date.

Here is my work so far:

Being part of the Honour Quilt and learning more about WWI history has been an interesting and at times poignant journey as I have started to look at my own ancestors involvement as well.  

The August 2014 issue of National Geographic has an incredible article with photos of the tunnels and trenches in France, which are still there from 1915.  It is well worth a read and to see the pictures sculpted in the walls of the tunnels.  The National Geographic article, combined with what I have learnt so far with the Honour Quilt, have heightened my awareness of what soldiers undergo to ensure we have a peaceful life.

There are plans for all of the quilts to be hung at exhibitions during 2015, including the Kilmore Quilters Quilt Show (Oct 2015).  When I have details of the quilt shows, I'll add them to this blog.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Bali Stars

Star quilt blocks, Bali Batik fabrics, ideas needed for a new class to teach that should not be too large, a baby/lap quilt needed, teach some small piecing, oh you can guess what happened here....

Bali Stars was born, not yet quilted, but the binding is made, the backing sorted and the pattern has been written. 

Where I've had the fun of going to play (oops, I mean work) on a very casual basis, there was a delivery of new batik fabrics.  Oh me, oh my, they were gorgeous!

I have chosen some that were a bit brighter than what I would normally choose, but oh, they are so nice....

This was by far one of my most disorganized quilt classes and preparation ever.  I'm sure the two ladies from the class would agree - in my own words, I was atrocious!  It just reminds me that Quilters are wonderful women who are understanding when family and life events get in the way.  I am eternally grateful for their patience and understanding.

When I have decided upon a quilting design, I'll post a bit more about Bali Stars.  Now, the decision of choosing quilting threads begins!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Funky 1600 JR Quilt

For quite some time I had been wanting to make a 1600 Jelly Roll quilt to find out what people on Yahoo groups were talking about.  Gosh, who knew that making a 1600 JR quilt could be so addictive?  I think I could make one in every colour way in my stash, if I had enough colours of each that is.

Now, the JR 1600 quilt instructions can be found here.  These very generous people at Heirloom Creations are happy for others to use their idea as long as you give credit - which is more than fair in my book.

I made my own 'jelly roll' from my stash of black/white/grey.  I had so many bits of these colours, that I just chopped them up one afternoon into appropriate lengths.  That night I made the quilt top - how fast does a JR 1600 go together?  Inside 3.5 hours with getting dinner for the family in the middle of that and pressing the seams!  WOW!

When I had sewn my black/white/grey fabrics together, which looked fabulous on the sewing table when in strips, I thought err, boring, dull, lifeless.  Off to visit my good friend, the internet and search some images to try and liven up this extremely boring quilt top.  I found the answer to my prayers here.  I wrote to Corina of cwquilts and she very kindly gave me permission to use her idea with credit applied at the time of posting to my blog.

My version of the 1600 JR Quilt:

In making this quilt, not only did I have fun, but I was once again reminded of the wonderful generosity of Quilters all over the world who are not frightened of sharing what they know with strangers.  I am indebted to Heirloom Creations and C W Quilts for giving me some sewing pleasure.

Monday, 22 September 2014

And they turned 70

The intention was for a quilt, made by me, for their 70th birthdays, which occurred during 2013.  Yep, missed their birthdays, so aimed for Christmas '13.  Was going very well, the weather stayed quite cold for Spring/Summer and then.... disaster of the quilty kind struck. 

Bobbin thread nests all over the back of the quilt and some excess fabric caught up in the bobbin area ...aarrghh....  Oh dear, what a mess!  It took quite some time to snip through all the threads to get the quilt out from under the machine, without putting a hole in the backing fabric.  I wish I had thought to take a photo of the mess, I had never seen anything like it from a sewing perspective before.

Then, the quilt and the machine both had to be dealt with separately.  Oh me, oh my.  The machine took about 45 minutes to clean up and get going again with newly wound bobbins, new needle and thread.  It took me a couple of days to painstakingly unpick the mess on the actual quilt while being ever so careful to not put a nick in either the top or backing fabric.  Being a whole-cloth quilt, I couldn't just take out and replace a piece if I nicked it.  

Of course, with the good time management skills of a quilter, it was Christmas.  The quilt was wrapped up, basting pins and all and put under the tree.   Surprise, delight and then "Oh" when the unfinished quilt was revealed.  I told Dad he should have been braver, I had closed all the basting pins and he could safely sleep under it that night.  Nope, he said he wasn't that silly!  Mum made no comment.

So, on Dads 71st birthday, this year, I gave them the completed quilt.  They both love it finished.  It is on their bed and they sleep under it every night.  Suits Mum's choice of red tones for the backing and the whole-cloth cream on cream suits her taste too.  Dad is happy because he is a crafts-person and loves hand-made things.  He also loves that she is happy!


Being a king size quilt, there is a lovely lot of overhang down the sides of the bed and it goes up over the pillows, just as they like it. 

Happy smiles all round. :)

Monday, 15 September 2014

One Block Wonder

A couple of weeks ago, several of us congregated at our local quilt group for a wonderful day of sewing, chatting and laughter as two members very bravely showed us how to make "One Block Wonder".

I went to this particular sewing day with no idea of what to expect.  I really struggled with the concept of how to cut my fabric and then sew it to achieve the 'kaleidoscope' blocks which make the One Block Wonder concept so intriguing.  I searched images of "One Block Wonder" before the workshop and it still didn't make sense to me.

So off I went, with my many companions, to a day of intrigue and learning.

WOW!  I was blown away by how knowledgeable our two tutors were and the amazing presentations - these two talented women managed to amaze and stun into silence 24 quilters!  

Here is my starting fabric

A few blocks laid out, ready to sew

 And then, my completed pile of 54 blocks

More the 'One Block Wonder' photos from our wonderful day can be seen here.

The possibilities I can see in fabric now, have changed my thinking.  If it has a definite repeat and movement, there are many surprises to be had when making the blocks.  I can't wait to start laying out my blocks and assembling the quilt top.

Thank you for sharing in my joy!

PS:  Don't forget - if you want to make your own "One Block Wonder", you can purchase or borrow from your library the "One Block Wonder" books.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Coming Back....

Today I sat down at the PC for the first time in many months to actually read yahoo group e-mails and not just check for my spot on the UFO Queens List.  It was like running into an old friend.  I have had a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours catching up with everyone.

I also watched some fantastic you-tube quilting videos.  I had forgotten that there is so much talent out there in quilty land and how simple techniques provide for 'light-bulb' moments in my head!  "Why didn't I think of that?"  :) 

Yes, I have had some finishes in the past few months, which I have not posted to yet.  I hope to rectify that tomorrow when I catch up on finish photos.

Before I sat down today to contemplate quilt and craft happenings (avoidance of dealing with tax papers), I felt like I was drowning in my stuff and lack of time due to the hours my new job demands.  But, then reality hit, as long as I go back to what I was doing at the start of the year, which was a little bit every day, then pieces get sewn together.  15 minutes a day - (I had forgotten that tip) - I know I can do that. 

I like to work on two things at once, a new start (for an exhibition, needs applique border and quilting) and I am deciding what to do next from the UFO list, having recently lost my momentum after finishing a King Size quilt.  Although I am very tempted by a video I watched today from Fat Quarter Shop where they used up fat quarters to make a quilt top quickly - and - oh dear running off on a tangent now - I have a pack of 30FQs in my cupboard which I bought in 2007 that I think will work really well for this.  I will test a bit of fabric for colour run in a glass of hot water first, lots of red and navy.

Off I go, to my sewing room, to tidy up the sewing table, ponder my many project boxes for the next project and  decide if I want to cut into my precious FQ pack!

Thank you all for just being there and for 'listening'.


Saturday, 8 February 2014

Hourglass Knitting

Way back in 2009, when we were living overseas, I made the simple hourglass quilt blocks from a charm square pack (by one of my favourite designers - Kaffe Fasset) and a piece of variegated batik fabric.  Then they languished as an UFO for four years simply because I couldn't think of what to do with them. 

Then, just a few weeks ago, in January 2014, inspiration struck!  It really was a lightning bolt moment for me.  What, I wondered would happen if I were to sew the blocks into three panels, could I make a bag from it?  Of course I could!

After the panels were assembled, I fused my three year old piece of lamifix to the sewn panels and made up the outer part of the bag.

I love how the light makes the jewel tones sparkle against the plainer batik.

Obviously, using all 40 hourglass blocks would have made a bag that was too large, so I lined the spares to make the internal pockets.  One small pocket for the tape measure and wool needles.  

A couple of pieces of elastic out of the drawer for keeping the extra needles which are sometimes required....

A second larger pocket for the pattern and my notebook

The lining, wadding, thread, elastic, bag feet and handles all came out of my stash.  This was truly a "stashbuster" project.  I also love that I was able to cross one project of my extensive list of UnFinished Objects.

Very happy :)

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Happy New Year!

Off to a flying start this year.  It has been a great summer holiday time, with lots of outings and sewing, and some other fun things thrown in for good measure.  Now it's back to routine, but not until I provide some "show'n'tell" of what I have accomplished the past four weeks or so, especially since my mojo has come back to play again.

First, a cross-stitch bookmark of a blue wren in Correa flowers - gorgeous Australian native bird and flowers

Second, a Christmas table runner using the 'Hope of Hartford' quilt block.  I really like how the star points are offset to each other and the flowing movement around the block.  This will be a make again block, maybe a smaller size.  I would like to see this repeated many times on a larger quilt.  Hmmm, more playing? 

Ooops, sideways photo, but you get the idea! :)

And, from the back, here's the quilting - don't look too closely - it's a bit wobbly!

And.... you'll just have to wait until next week to see the third finish....  oh dear....  Trust me, I think it's worth the wait - can't have too much to look at in one post can we?