Friday, 9 October 2015

Storm at Sea

Ta Daaaa!..... Storm At Sea!

Started 11 years ago, literally, this quilt has been waiting a very long time to have the quilting completed and the binding added.  I made this quilt over a period of 12 months from October 2004, preparing the backing, binding and wadding all at the same time.

During 2006, Storm At Sea was packed away for renovations, which were shortly followed by an overseas move.  It was as I sat through a north German winter, I began the quilting during 2007 and then my problems began.  I had not basted this quilt correctly and the bumpiness I was quilting over was a large bunch of fabric on the back.  What a mess! 

The thought of unpicking the mono-filament thread being used was just too much for me.  I put the quilt away while I pondered upon my predicament.  It was only later on after we had moved back to Australia that I pulled the quilt out again.  Nope, still didn't want to face the unpicking to remove the fabric lump on the back.  Put it away again. 

Fast forward to 2015 and an upcoming quilt show with my local quilt group - incentive, momentum and a need to stop my son from asking me when his quilt will be ready for him to use - he thinks it very unfair that his brother has had a quilt for (oops) 9 years and he hasn't - that I decided to bit the bullet and get it done. 

The results are here for all to see - my apologies that the photo was taken at night, but I was so excited to get this quilt finished that I didn't care about the lighting.

Turns out, procrastination had been my biggest issue -far bigger than the unpicking of the bunched up fabric.  I was able to complete the unpicking and quilting over the course of 1 very long day and then it was only the binding.  One week after making my decision to complete this quilt - it was "done done".

I guess the moral of the story is to deal with the problems as they arise, not let them sit and become bigger in my mind than what they really are.

I am super excited by this finish, as are the menfolk in my house who love it!

This is finish #7 of 12 planned for the year.

Monday, 7 September 2015


My most recent finish!  It seems that hand-made items have their time to shine, each in turn.

When I pulled this one out of the box a couple of months ago, I felt very happy and calm with the project.  I had a feeling that the new Mum (baby not yet born) would like the quilt and guess what?  She sure did.  It was with great delight that she squealed and then jumped around with joy at receiving this gift - her grandmother (my aunt) and her great-grandmother (my grandmother) were also quilters, so she felt it was very special.

I originally posted about this particular quilt here, in April 2013.  

Front of quilt.

The gorgeous soft flannelette backing.
The idea/pattern for the large pinwheels is from the Moda Bakeshop website and makes great use of 5in charm squares.  I added on the borders to use up some leftover fabric pieces and to make the quilt a little larger to suit a cot and then a sleepy time quilt for when baby becomes a toddler.

For the quilting, I used a large swirl wave design over the pinwheels, ellipses in the narrow border and then swirls in the outer border.  

I have plans to make another one with 5in charm squares that are predominately pinks and already put aside.  I thoroughly enjoyed seeing "pinwheeling" come to life.

This is finish #6 of 12 planned for the year.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Snappy So Happy

Snap Pop! was the name of the lovely, bright coloured charm square pack used in this quilt.  I was looking for something funky, modern and bright to make this girl quilt.

When I took the quilt outside for to photograph it, the dark, gloomy winter day seemed not so dull anymore.  It certainly brought a smile to my face when the colours seemed to simply pop against the winter hue.

Quilted with a lightly variegated pale yellow King Tut thread in a swirl design to contrast against the geometry of the squares, I then framed the quilt with a green binding to pull everything together,

Sometimes simplicity in patchwork patterns and quilt design just works.

This is quilt #5 of 12 planned for the year.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Little Travelling Jacket

Such a delight to knit - a cabled winter jacket for a little one.  Due to be born very soon, I have given this jacket to her expectant Mum, (who loves anything crafted by hand), in Mum's last week of work.

Given that I have sons and there are many nephews, it is very rare that I get to work such a pretty feminine design.  With just the right mix of cables and stocking stitch in 8ply wool, I knitted this jacket in a few short weeks.

Back of Jacket
Lovely and long, the jacket will keep her warm and snug as she moves around.  I wish I had a jacket like this one!
Front of Jacket

Pattern:  Little Vintage Sunday Coat from "Baby Book 5" by Sue Batley-Kyle.   pub. King Cole 2012
Knitted in:  Patons Totem 8ply.
Size:  To fit 12-18 months.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Oven-mitts & Pot-holders

Practical and useful.  Probably not a very exciting thing to post about, but I actually enjoyed making my newest set of oven mitts; and then a pot-holder from the left over fabric. 

Alas, they did not stay in my possession for long - these items are currently in residence at the shop where I teach some-times because Customers had been requesting such a class.

A very yellow photo of the oven mitts, because I forgot the flash!  Oooops.
 I have put insulbrite wadding in the mitts, with a layer of cotton wadding also to make them comfy and heat-proof.
And... a much better photo of the Pot-holder with the flash turned on!
No more burnt fingers now! :)

Monday, 6 July 2015

Lunch out?

When going to a Sit'n'Sew day, I find that it's nice to have your own cutlery and a place-mat to put your plate on.  Often, it can be annoying if a bit of lettuce falls out of the sandwich you're eating or there's no-where to put your yoghurt spoon and you have to either find a cloth to wipe the table, or, make a place-mat from paper towel.

Opened out mat with side-plate and cutlery.
The idea of a combined cutlery holder/place-mat is not new.  I know I have seen pictures of them before, but I cannot remember where, so I made up my own.  With simple cutting, piecing and a bit of quilting, it was made in very little time.
All rolled up and ready to pack in my lunch bag.
I am thinking that I will need to make a second one of these, with some large print fabric to keep in my work lunch bag and include some nice cutlery too.  Staff room cutlery is often less than desirable and there are never, ever any forks!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Chocolate Cake... yummmmm

I love it when friends have birthdays to celebrate. It means getting together to share each others company, some yummy food and catch up.  This particular birthday was no different.   A gorgeous girlfriend was turning 50, so I offered to bake the cake for her.

 Like me, she has a wonderful passion for all things chocolate.  So, what was I to do, but pull out my Great Grandmother's chocolate layer cake recipe.

Inside the cake, there were 14 fine layers of individually cooked cake, alternated with chocolate cream.  Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the cake when it was cut to show you the layers.

I did have a panic moment when my friend asked me to put 50 candles ON the cake.  When I was purchasing the candles and flowers, I mentioned this request to the sales lady, who promptly said "Good Luck with that". 

My compromise was to put the candles on the board, which I am pleased I did, because they burnt like crazy when lit, making me doubly glad that I had also put a hard chocolate shell around the outside edge.  Phew!

All in all, it was a fantastic day, with the sun shining, lots of lovely people gathered and my girlfriend had hired a chef for the occasion, so there was no cooking or washing up.  It was truly heavenly.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Christmas in July - almost

Well, it's not quite July, but it is certainly cold enough at the moment for a Northern Hemisphere Christmas right here in Australia!

In an effort to try and complete some of my "smaller" projects, I decided to work on my Christmas apron.
 And... it's taken along time to percolate in the zip-lock bag it was in.  

  • Fabric and pattern purchased in 2009. 
  • Shapes traced onto fusible web in 2009.  
  • Applique fused and stitched onto background in 2014.
  • Finally put together a few weeks ago.  

 To get the shape/size of the actual apron, I traced around the shape of my favourite apron, then I knew it would be a perfect fit and it is.
Stitching this apron was quite a break away from my normal things to do, but the book I got the layout and letters from was so lovely and with many nice Christmas items contained in the pages, that I couldn't help myself.  I just had to make it!

I am looking forward to preparing Christmas dinner, wearing my new apron. :)

** Applique Pattern:  'I Believe' book by Nancy Halvorsen for Art To Heat.  Pub. 2009.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Brrr.... it's cold outside

Now that Winter seems to have overtaken Autumn here in the southern part of Australia, I thought it prudent that I get out my knitting projects.

Here is the first knitted project for this year:  A keyhole scarf with large leaves for the ends.

The pattern is a design from By Lynette and the wool I used was Utiku Merino/Possum blend.  I purchased the wool and pattern as a kit from the Craft and Quilt Fair about 3 years ago.

So soft and light, but oh so very warm.  This scarf will really keep the winter chill away every morning when I have to brave the frosty outdoors.

I sewed the ends of wool in just now, hence the indoor photo.  My MIL was keeping us interested with old family history and photos of my husband's great uncle in his full regalia as a leader of the Light Horse Brigade.  When I was working on the Honour Quilt, I had no idea of the history of that side of the family.  A truly remarkable way to end what has been an emotional and poignant weekend.  This story helps in some way to make my Honour Quilt even more honourable for our family.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Honouring Our Heroes - part 2

ANZAC Day is almost upon us.  In a week's time the commemorations of 100 years since that fateful landing of Australian and New Zealand soldiers upon the shores of Gallipoli begin.

The Honour Quilts which myself and other members from Kilmore Quilters have made, will be on display at the Kilmore Memorial Hall on Sunday 19th April as part of a larger historical exhibition.

As posted previously, each participant received a few blocks per month with the name and history of a soldier attached.  You could use those names or research your own family friends/members.

My version of the completed Honour Quilt.
Such a significant part of the Australian history, and such a small showing of the impact on the lives of many.  And as I have mentioned in other blog posts, this has been a somewhat poignant journey as I learnt more about the soldiers, their families and the impact of war on the world as a whole.

During the past week, my Husband and I took our children to the Melbourne Museum.  There was an exhibition of WWI careers (for want of a better word).  Victorians were featured.  Profiled were soldiers, nurses, women factory workers, surgeons and then of course, there were weapons and prosthetic limbs.  The topic which sparked the most questions from the children were about the plaster face masks/moulds and the before/after photos of the soldiers who were disfigured by ammunition.  The exhibition was very confronting and emotional.


Quilt #4 of 12 for completion this year.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Bali Stars - part 2

Another finish!  I seem to be on quite a roll with finishes this year, which is making me very happy.  Part of my New Year's Resolution was to get 12 (already started) quilts quilted and bound, irrespective of size.  So far, so good.  This is number 3 of my planned 12.

Back in October last year I put up a post about a quilt that I had been teaching.  This is this quilt, completely finished, including a label and hanging sleeve.  

It took me a very long time to find a quilting thread which would complement both the white background and the multi-coloured setting triangles and, wouldn't overtake one or the other of the fabric colours used.  Finally, I found that yellow worked very well.  I used King Tut thread in both the top of the machine and in the bobbin.  Very smooth sewing.  

My hubby loves this quilt because of the bright colours!  I love this quilt because of the stars.

I will be teaching Bali Stars again as a two part class during May and I'm looking forward to the classes very much.  It will be better this year, because I will be properly prepared and there are many happy vibes coming off the quilt.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

3D Fun Aussies

A very short post this week about a bag.

Love, love, love this bag.  And, it's huge!  3D Fun was the name of the pattern I used.

The bottlebrush panel and the small gumnut pieces have come from the Under the Australian Sun fabric ranges.  The rest was made up of bits'n'pieces from my stash.

Making the little 3D leaves for the side panel was very time consuming.  However, once I started to get it together - wow - it was really fun to make.

There is heaps of room inside for lots of shopping, or it will fit a yoga mat and towel for that all important exercise session.

This very Aussie flora bag was also on display at the Australian Exhibition at the Cranbourne Gardens, just like the quilt in my previous post.

The pattern for the bag is available from here.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Aussies! Oi!

Great Australians.  Just love 'em.  Where would we be without our well loved marsupials and trees which shed bark instead of leaves?  Without quilting inspiration of course!

And... the clothesline (Hills Hoist) was the perfect place to hang my Aussies! quilt from, with gum tree trunk and dry summer grass in the background, as well as a Blundstone boot peeking out from the bottom of one of the photos.
Every year Chandler's Cottage organises an Australian themed exhibition which is held in the function rooms at the glorious Australian Gardens in Cranbourne.  The theme for the exhibition must be Australian, and I got as Australian as I could with my fabrics and patterns.  

The background and binding fabrics were from Leesa Chandlers designs/fabric range.
The green fabric for the two gum-nut and leaf appliques are from Reece Scannell.
The applique patterns are designs from Susan Matthews and were published in Australian Patchwork and Quilting Magazine in 1999.  Hmmm, 1999, last century.  Personally I am glad I have kept all of my old magazines, they are so full of ideas and inspiration!

This year, the Australian Exhibition just blew my mind.  It went over two levels and the variety in quilt types, knitted, felted, embroidered and beaded items was sensational.  It was fun, quirky and awe inspiring.

I feel very proud to have taken part in such a fun event.  I am already looking forward to next year.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

CCQ - Central Panel - B13

If anyone had asked me as little as 3 years ago if I would contemplate hand-appliqueing a quilt, I would have told them that they were crazy - me? - hand applique? - never!  I was a machine person through and through. 

About 2 years ago, I found myself unable to sit at my sewing machine because I broke some ribs.  I could not use my machine for several weeks until the ribs healed.  In my boredom I did what all bored quilters do - I spent my time searching the web to see what was going on in the quilting world.   That was when I stumbled across the Chester Criswell Quilt.

There was some explaining to do on my part when my local fun group questioned my sanity as I announced I was starting a hand applique quilt, with every intention to complete the entire quilt.  I then promptly asked them to teach me how to hand applique properly, since I didn't really know how to get nice edges on my needle-turn.

Now for some showing off, bragging, or whatever you like to call it - here is the central panel of the Chester Criswell Quilt.  Just finished last night, I have been staring at it a lot, not quite able to believe that I hand stitched it.

Wow!  It's still blowing my mind.

I have completed several other blocks since I started CCQ in Jan 2013 and I'll be showing them off here over the next few months.

CCQ = Chester Criswell Quilt

The pattern for Block 13 of the Chester Criswell Quilt is available from here. 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Whole-cloth Running......

About 2.5 years ago I purchased 3 FQ sized pre-printed whole-cloth panels to make a QAYG table runner with. 

One year ago - oops, upon checking, it was actually Two years ago that I quilted the panels, trimmed them and then set to putting on cover strips over the seams and the binding.  I didn't think about the cover strip size, I just cut it a 2.5in and attached it.  I was so unhappy with the appearance of the cover strips and how they seemed to overtake the quilt, that I put the whole thing aside in disgust.  

Last December, I set to unpicking the cover strips and the partially sewn binding.  Unpicking was all I achieved.  I was determined that during this month of January I would get my runner finished.  I re-cut the cover strips to finish at the same width as the binding and then attached them. 
Detail photo, showing the backing fabric.
I am so happy now with my completed project, that I am wondering why I didn't fix it up sooner.  For such a small project, it seemed to cause me a bit of grief for a while.  

There's no mistaking the wonderful feeling, my first completed or "done-done" project for 2015.  
The completed runner
Stats:     Size - 54in x 18in  (145cm x 45cm)
              Yardage used – 2.25yds (2.0m)
              Quilting – by me on my Domestic Sewing Machine with Rasant Threads

Very excited – I have a new runner for my table to go with the lovely new cloth that I purchased a couple of days ago.