Sunday, 31 July 2011

Melbourne Quilt and Craft Fair excursion

Yesterday, my bff and I met my SIL at the Melbourne Quilt and Craft Fair to indulge in our collective love of all things quilty and fabricky.

No photo's (as this would be 'evidence' according to our respective spouses!) and we had a fabulous time:
  • we met the super talented and truly lovely Nicole Mallalieu and had a chat - my bff and SIL bought her book (You sew, girl) which Nicole kindly signed.  We also bought patterns, and bag bits, and interfacing - both Nicole and her sister were soooo helpful - it such a pleasure to spend time there
  • we visited The Scissor Man for templates - looking forward to playing with these
  • bought a curve master sewing foot from Punch with Judy - when I've had a play I'll blog about this (I'm going to make a Drunkards path block quilt for one of nieces who is expecting her first baby)
  • bought fabric from here and here and here and here and stop now.......
  • stopped for a bit of lunch
  • shopped a bit more
  • ogled the quilts
Bit pooped by time we got home - my bff stayed for dinner and my gorgeous husband made us Sate beef with rice and bok choy which we ate in front of the telly - a fantastic day all round really. 

Inspired to try some new things we saw - and some old things we haven't tried before.

Next year my bff and I have decided we'll do some of the workshops, maybe get a 2 day pass and stay in the City - what an excursion THAT will be!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Going over all psychedelic.....

Some days, you just need to finish something the same day you start it - and I needed a new journal cover as my current journal is almost full (I know it's a little bit nerdy to have a journal, but I have the memory keeping capability of a goldfish, so the journal works for me!).

I made one for my bff's birthday which was specific to her and her tastes (blogged earlier) but I wanted mine to be a bit more unfinished.

So, out with scraps of fabrics I'd hand dyed - especially the selvedges - and in a salute to my Scottish heritage, I wove a psychedelic tartan.  This was stitched down onto a piece of scrap wadding, using variegated thread and then the real farty stuff started:

First of all, I used some of my stamps (Extreme Elements from Stampin' Up - one of my favourite stamp sets) and with a black 'stayzon' stamp pad, stamped here and there.  Then, I remembered I could also use bleach as a stamping solution, so out with the White King and a bit more stamping - the dye came out of the fabric but not the black stamped images - guess that's why they call it 'stayzon' !  I really enjoyed this part - except for the fumes - it was amazing to actually watch the dye leach out.

Once the bleach had all dried, I got a nail brush out and vigourously scrubbed to further distress the fabric - and the result is a super soft, very distressed, psychadelic tartan.  Perfect!

I added a couple of pieces of fabric to hold the notebook, left all the edges unbound and then added a little brad on the front - I love it - it's soooooo tactile - here's hoping it inspires me to bigger and better things......

Notebook is opened out so you can see the entire piece (rotten photo - it was taken at night)

Here's a close up of the front:

It's very different to the one I made my bff, but some of the elements are the same - my hand dyed fabric, stampin', variegated thread - love, love, love how a similar set of components can provide the stimulation for ideas at either end of the spectrum.....chaos/order, rough/smooth etc etc

My bff's journal opened out - my hand dyed fabric, stamped, hand quilted, foundation pieced circular flying geese, buttons, sweetwater fabric line and a piece of ribbon taken off a beautifully packaged cake!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

FWQA - progress

Well, the farmer and I are making a bit of a go of it - 3 blocks made this week and all came together really well - this makes it 30 blocks now and I'm really loving the mix of reds.

Top: Duck and ducklings
Bottom left: End of Day, Right: Economy patch
'End of day' was foundation pieced and the other two simply rotary cut.  Can't beleive after all these blocks I forgot to fussy cut Saffron Craig's owl on the diagonal - oh well, it's destined to be a drunk owl once it joins the other's how they look altogether:

....and to check on value, I created a black and white photo..........

Yep - I'm really loving this again - phew!!!

do.Good Stitches

As you can see from the new button on the right, I've recently joined do.Good Stitches, a virtual Charity Quilting Bee, initiated by the talented Rachel of  Stitched in Color.  This Charity Bee predominantly services charities in the US, but as I'm the first leader in Oz, the quilts our circle makes (our circle is called Cherish) will benefit folks here in Australia (well, except for a couple a year, which will benefit Project Linus in the UK as we have a couple of members from the UK).  We will all contribute to a quilt a month and the quilts destined for Oz will be distributed by the tireless Janice from Needy Stitches - so it's a bit exciting - we're starting our first quilt in August and I have to come up with a design and colour palette.......

There are two levels of contribution - 'Quilters' take it in turn to decide on the quilt pattern and colour palette of the quilt to be made.  Everyone in the circle makes a couple of blocks as per instructions and sends them to the Quilter.  The Quilter is then responsible for joining the blocks together, creating the completed quilt and sending it to the nominated charity.  The other level of contribution is the 'Stitchers'.  'Stitchers' simply make the blocks each month as requested by the rostered 'Quilter'.

We are currently short a 'Quilter' member - so if you're up for it, please complete the application form you can find on Flickr asap.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Up from the depths

I have been a bit low over the last couple of weeks and it's really amazing how that tips the balance between your negative voice and your positive one - definite leaning towards the dark side!  However, I'm emerging from the fog and it feels good....

Last friday was my bff's birthday and we had a lovely lunch with friends - one of those gorgeous Melbourne winter days - sunshine and blue skies, albeit a little cold.

I collected a little bundle of goodies for her - she's really taken to patchwork and quilting (which I think is just perfect) so I included a couple of templates (Drunkards Path and Art Deco Fan), a quilting journal with a cover I made myself, a little pin cushion to match (which I forgot to photograph) and a set of Fleur-de-lis seals from a beautiful Papiro in Degraves Street, City.

Bff's journal cover
 Happy birthday bff

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Trial separation.......

Last week the farmer and I decided on a trial separation - well, I decided - he just wasn't doing it for me anymore, but, 24 blocks together says a lot about commitment, so thought I should give it another try.

I met him again down a Country Path - it was a little rocky in spots, but the end result was promising....

Block 24 Country Path

We thought a cup of tea was in order.......

Block 25 Cups and saucers
 Unfortunately, working together was not without difficulty and things began to deteriorate - cups and saucers were smashed (3 of them - what a rotten block - in the end I 'glued' one back together and decided it would do!) and in the melee, the cut glass dish was also smashed (made this one 3 times too - damn those teeny tiny HST's!)

Block 26 Cut glass dish
The confusion was so intense, it caused birds to dart about around the kitchen...
Block 27 Darting birds
and it was this that helped me to re-focus and get back on track.

So, here's the progress card so far:

In my heart I'm determined to see this one through - right down to the last of the 111 blocks required, plus sashing and cornerstones - but I have a feeling that there may be other 'trial' separations to come - after all, variety is the spice of life.....

Please note, humour's reputation was in absolutely no danger due to the contents of the post - it was funnier in my head - honest!!

Sunday, 17 July 2011


As I write this, my little brother has already been walking for over 24 hours in Australia's toughest endurance event.

My LB is trekking in the Gold Coast Hinterland, over 96 kms, along fire trails, crossing 12 creeks and gaining 5,000m of vertical elevation, in honour of the spirit forged on the Kokoda Track in 1942: Mateship, Endurance, Courage and Sacrifice.

This Kokoda Challenge Association raises funds, in part, to:

"Identify young Australians at a crossroads in their life and provide support to help them reach their potential."

If you asked him, my LB will say he answered "yes' before he realised what was involved - and that's probably true: He has never done anything like this before, he has always (and continues to do so, along with his gorgeous wife) provided a loving and open environment in his own home.  They are raising 3 talented, loving and family oriented children and that wonderful atmosphere of love and family envelops all who walk through their door.

But I beleive that the driver for him, the reason he spent hours training, raising funds and awareness, was to support an organisation that could potentially provide young Aussies a taste of that familial warmth, that enveloping atmosphere that simply makes you want to be a better person.

and now, because he said he would, he is actually doing the trek.

I am inordinately proud of my LB.  I love the man he is and I love his strength.  I love that he will not demand anything of anyone that he wouldn't do himself.  I love that he's a man of his word, his wicked sense of humour, his ability to laugh at himself and his fine sense of the ridiculous- and that he is a mad Manchester United fan.

He's on his way to Checkpoint 12 (of 14 checkpoints) so he's definately on the home stretch.  So wish we could be at the finish line to cheer him through.

Love you P - well done to you.

Friday, 15 July 2011


I do love to trumpet - even though it's a trait my mother thought was "unseemly" - and I just finished machine quilting Stella's Sampler - I still have to do a little hand quilting (with gorgeous perle thread) and label it, but the sunshine outside was too good to I ran outside, pegged it up, and tah dah!!!!!

and here's the back.............

The block in the middle was one that I remade for the front - and it's ideal for the back. 

Love it when a quilt comes together.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

WIP Wednesday

We had a scheduled electricity outage today, so not a lot of sewing done - but, there has been a fair amount of activity since the last post:

My bff finished all her blocks for her sampler quilt - rich and sumptuous japanese prints and beautifully stitched - this was the last photo before it was packed up for the night (and after several block moves to get just the right layout!)  Well done bff - very, very gorgeous and your Sparky is a very, very lucky boy...

I created this in EQ6 to keep track of the FWQA blocks I've made so far (and haven't got any new ones to show as I didn't get any done this week)

I finished and sent off 2 of these Shoofly blocks for a Red and White challenge, issued by Elizabeth - these were finally completed after a disaster concerning a small child and a very muddy dog which meant an emergency dispatch of new fabric from the USA - but that's a whole other story....

I dyed a rainbow of fat quarters - don't you just love how the sun is shining through the pots?  Just like a stained glass window - and given we've been subjected to a great deal of rain and wind, the sun was a very welcome sight

I made some triangular pouches - can't say who they're for because I just posted them off today......when I opened the zips, they reminded me of little birds in the nest - so searched out this twig wreath and attempted a little arty farty photography - perhaps I should stick to sewing????

Once the electrickery came back on, I loaded my sampler quilt (same pattern as the one my bff made at the top of this post) onto Gertie (the long-arm Gammill) and started quilting - had to stop when my stitch in the ditch started to become stitch everywhere else but the ditch....

and finally, Buster and Antonio enjoying a little rest time....Buster is the (ex-muddy) dog and Antonio, the cat (whom I wanted to call Zorro, but that too, is another story) have a reasonably friendly relationship but it is unusual for them to lie down together - usually the cat baits the dog until the dog moves...

...............and now it's very late Downunder, so it's time for bed - au revoir

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

PJ day

It's cold, wet and blustery here today - just the type of weather to bring on an attack of the miseries - so, I'm going to stay in my pj's, drink too much coffee and search out all the hidey holes where chocolate may lurk...
it's been like this for a few days now, which explains my (comfort) food choices - like the Cinnamon Sugar Pullapart bread from - and it was only after stuffing our faces that I noticed the recipe said to 'let rest for 30 mins' - it didn't get a chance!!! home made pizza - shared with fabulous friends we haven't seen for a while (and I turned into one of those ancient aunts who exclaim "look how much you've grown" to all the kids - although have to say, it's true - the kids HAVE grown since we saw them last!!) stew and dumplings...........and flavoured crisps.....gordon bennett, no wonder my bum looks big in this.....

I did manage to get some more creative things done this week - I dragged all the sashiko quilt doings into the front room, where the fire was lit (I lurrrve the open fire) and drew up a couple more blocks, ready for sewing (no pictures - will wait til they're actually sewed).  Also made a few more FWQA blocks - spent a wonderful sunday afternoon with my bff making our FWQA blocks but I forgot to take photos while she was here - next time. 

I was planning to only use my scrap fabrics once - but that's a bit impractical given there's 111 blocks and a requirement to use up to 5 different reds in one block - I just don't have that many reds:

From left back: Country farm, Contrary wife,
 front: Chequerboard, Corn and beans, Churn dash
 I had to make 3 Chequerboard's until I was happy with the finish, make 2 Country farms's and 2 Corn and beans - and even now I'm not happy with the lack of contrast in that one, but it was soooo fiddly I'm not in the right frame of mind to do it again - maybe when the sun comes out.......

Think I'd best go and do something physical - that'll shake off the miseries.............think the chook shed is just about to get a good clean out..........

til next time

Friday, 1 July 2011


This is the 3rd time I've attempted to post - hopefully this one works....

First thing, it's been 1 year since my diagnosis and subsequent surgery for breast cancer - and on wednesday I had a mammogram and ultrasound - and I'm very happy to report, there's nothing to report - onwards and upwards......

This week has, looking back on it, been quite busy, for one reason or another.  Last weekend, my husband, sister and I went up to Brisbane to visit my gorgeous brother and his family - and to deliver a quilt I made for them.  The quilt went down a treat and i hope it keeps them as warm as they made us feel - we had a fabulous time and were sorry to leave....wish we lived closer.

Charm Stars - for my brother and SIL - pattern from the Moda Bakehouse
The sampler quilt top that's been hanging around for a while has now been 'bordered' and is ready for quilting - think I might put this on the long-arm and do some hand quilting to highlight - I bought some gorgeous green Perle no. 8 thread for hand quilting and it should look good:

This sampler is the one I designed to teach the rudiments of patchwork and quilting to my bff, niece and her friend - and they're all hooked!!  They've all used very different colourways and they're doing a great job - if they let me, I'll post pictures after the next class.

As mentioned before, I've been hand quilting my DWR in front of the tennis (go Andy Murray!) and this is the pattern I'm using in the middle of the rings - I've also stitched in the ditch around all the rings and melons.  Not sure what to do in the melons as yet, but I've got time to work that out:

I also managed to get the next 2 FWQA blocks done - only 2 this week, but that's ok, 'specially as I had issues!!:

L. Century of progress - foundation pieced
R. Cats and mice - issues!!
 I was supposed to make 4 x 2" 1/4 square triangles for the cats and mice block - but somehow, I ended up with 8 x 1" 1/4 square triangles - obviously need to check my maths BEFORE cutting out..

Also finished a couple of quick projects - practical projects and it's so good to start and finish something within a couple of hours now and again:

Thread bucket
This little bucket hangs off the window winder next to my sewing machine - and hopefully it'll mean all the threads I cut off won't find their way onto the floor and consequently, onto the next quilt!

...and a tea cosy - cos I'm British!!

I'm sure there's lots I've forgotten to write about - but there you have it for this post - til next time....