Monday, 31 October 2011

Another leap (or is that 'Once more into the breach...'?????)

Well, I've gorn and done it now - I've listed an item in Etsy - my very first quilt, for sale, on Etsy - not the first quilt I made, you understand - that's on our bed in the camper trailer - it's also very suss in terms of construction and block placement - but this first is 'the listed on Etsy' first.

artistically draped over the barby

So, following my bliss:

  • give up work in the finance industry - check
  • provide long-arm quilting service - check
  • teaching patchwork and sewing - check
  • enrol for Diploma in Textiles next year - check
  • selling my hand made items on Etsy - check
Now all of the above just has to start providing some sort of income over and above what I spend on fabric and my world, not to mention my dear husband, will be a happier place!

I love it when a plan comes together...

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Another opportunity....

I'm linking up with Amy's Bloggers Quilt Festival because the opportunity to again roll out 'Jewelled Promise' was just too hard to resist - I know I'm hammering this quilt but I still look at it and can't believe I made a quilt by hand.  Apologies to those who have heard this story before ;>

I was never all that fussed about the craft - I'd sewn for years, mostly clothes and curtains - and I used to think my SIL was daft as she sit and sewed by hand, "where's the fun in that?", "it's too slow"....I was all about finding a pattern, buy the fabric and get it made ready to wear that night....

But then, one Easter - about 5 or 6 years ago -  while we were away camping, I really liked how she could get out her sewing, pretty much anywhere.  So, in a nearby town, we paid a visit to the LQS and I bought my first quilting fabric.  Robyn said she'd sew a quilt top for me, by machine (patience isn't one of my virtues) using the fabrics I just bought (I still wasn't anywhere near ready to sew one myself - and certainly not by hand).  While the fabrics weren't exactly awe inspiring (think those dull country colours), she duly made the top and it sat in my UFO box for several years.  It's finished now (I bought a Gammill long-arm and it's one of the first quilts I loaded) and I love it because Robyn made it for me - and she lit the fire.

Every time Robyn and I got together, we visited quilting shops, or shows and my interest (and stash) grew - the fabric ranges got more diverse, more colourful (I fell in love with Kaffe Fassett), the patterns less fussy and twee - really started to see the possibilities.  Quite a few machine pieced quilt tops ensued.

Fast forward to May 2010.  Lloyd (my husband) and I planned a 4WD camping trip across the Nullabor from home to Western Australia - so I needed a project I could do by hand, as we weren't always guaranteed powered sites - notwithstanding my dear husband flatly refused to allow me to pack my sewing machine.  So I cut out all the pieces using a template - lots of Kaffe and other brights from my stash (like Fossil Fern), as well as a vanilla background, and packed them all in the trailer for the trip.

I think I made maybe 2 or 3 'melon' shapes while we were away and I thought it might lanquish in the
UFO box for a while.  However, within a month of our return I had the opportunity to transform my life - which gave me lots of time to get this beauty finished. 

The quilt is hand pieced, hand quilted and the binding (proper bias binding!) is both hand dyed and attached by hand.  The only parts sewn by machine was piecing the back (2 large pieces of fabric, straight down the middle) and sewing the binding together.  I love it - and smile every time I see it!

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

WIP Wednesday #9

I'm linking up with Lee at Freshley Pieced - thanks agin Lee - great job - and I love reviewing what others have got up to - keeps us honest!!

I'm trying to remember what I did this week - it's all a bit of a blur really - I do remember cleaning out the chook shed, and doing some hand sewing - we also bought a new computer so there''s been a bit of faffing about - and I know there's more faffing to occur - it's just finding the time....

So, without further ado:

I finished one more hexie
rotten photo - *sigh*
I finished my Modern Christmas Tablerunner Swap plus a couple of ornaments - just needs to wrapped and posted on the due date..

I actually quilted a top that's been together for oooh, at least a couple of years - and in my UFO tub -  it was on my Winter Summer stitching list so apart from binding and a label, it's about done - and I've even cut out the binding....

*sigh* - another rotten photo - I'll take a more decent one when it's bound
I've got a couple of charity quilt tops to quilt, a commission I received this evening and another I'm discussing on Friday - so I'm going to be very busy!

Summary then, (cos I'm soooo tired - need to go to bed...)


MCTS - woo hoo

Quilts in Progress:

Blanket Box Hexies - made another 1

Cut out patches for Block 53 of FWQA - not together as yet
Whirleygig II - quilted - now needs to be bound

No action at all:

Class Sampler quilt - all blocks completed


Psychedelic tartan - who knows??
Double diamonds - still needs something......
Which way to go - needs quilting
Dancing with the stars - needs quilting
Kimono mini - needs binding
Sashiko qayg - needs finishing!
Red and white challenge - needs properly starting

Please click on Lee's "Freshley Pieced WIP wednesday" button on the right to see what others are up to .....

new 'puter

I've got a new computer - it's a HP and runs Windows 7 - it's soooooo much quicker than my last one - but I still have to transfer all the stuff from the old one to the new one........and I've discovered why having a good clean out of the study and tossing all those boxes and cd's and rego numbers is not such a good idea......I think my new pc will be running a few less programmes than before..........

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


I've been hand sewing some hexies together using some fantastic templates I bought from The Blanket Box.  The fabric is mostly from a couple of lines of French General - it's really easy to sew and I'm able to usually get at least one done a week when I catch up with the ladies at my stitch and patch session - we don't take sewing machines so this project is ideal.  It's on my list of Summer sewing and I'm expecting to be able to make at least another 15 (I just finished one and my list mentions 16).  These are 8" finished so I'm thinking I'll need about that before I start joining them together with sashing - and with a couple of borders to finish they'll make a stylish quilt for someone very special.

So, while I can't cross anything off the list as yet, at least the 'doing' is progressing.......and speaking of progressing, here's the rose bush at my front entrance just a couple of days after this post.......

Typical Melbourne - glorious one minute, pouring the next - we have a saying - if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes!!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Focus, I say, focus....EDITED after reading a few other lists!

I've decided to link up with Sarah of FairyFace Designs in order to get some of my focus back, and join her Winter Stitching - there's so much going on and I've got so many things I want to do that I'm getting a bit of creative paralysis - you know when you walk into your sewing room, look around, pick up some fabric, put it down, walk into the study, turn on pc, lose 5-6 hours..........

...but of course, the only thing is that for us here in Oz, it's coming into Summer so I'm going to do Winter Summer Stitching instead.

So, on my list for the next few months - and bearing in mind there'll be all sorts of distractions, like lazing by the pool, throwing prawns and steak on the barby, sipping mango daiquiris (or, as I was just made aware, raspberry mojitos - yummmm), snoozing under the air-con - you get my drift.....

The official Winter Summer Stitching list:

  1. Quilt at least 3 of my UFO's (Batik medallion, Dancing with the Stars and Whirleygig II)
  2. Make grey and citrus 'garden path' quilt
  3. Make Sanctuary Squares quilt
  4. Stitch at least 16 more hexagons
  5. Make a skirt for me using the fabric pack I bought from Kelani
  6. Make 7 more pouches and put them all on Etsy
  7. Make at least 1 layer cake quilt
  8. Make at least 20 more Farmers Wife blocks
  9. Make a swoon quilt
  10. Make a Drunkards path quilt
  11. Complete my Modern Christmas Tablerunner and post to my secret partner
  12. Keep up with newly joined Oz Bee (and work out what I want when it's my turn)
  13. Dye fabrics using sun dyes, disperse dyes and usual procion dyes - the USE THE FABRIC!
This list maybe just a little optimistic given the abovementioned distractions - but at least I can focus on getting these done and can feel like I've accomplished something.

Thanks Sarah - this is a great idea - I'm going to see if I can add this list to my side-bar so it reminds me everytime I log on - I can feel those juices stirring already!!


many a slip..

In my head, I saw this.....

What transpired was this

Oh dear - this won't be accompanying the Modern Christmas tablerunner to it's secret destination - back to the drawing board.....

Thursday, 20 October 2011

a little bit of garden..

This blog comes with the following warning...


Back in August, I blogged about some work my youngest son was doing to my verandah/entrance.

It's not completely finished, as there's still some termite damage to make good on the corner (he's going to do that on Melbourne Cup weekend as he's taken the monday off as annual leave)

But, he finished building a little rose arbour over the entrance and a couple of decks and my husband painted it while he was on annual leave - so this week I tidied my potting area up (which lives on the verandah), got rid of a few hundred spiders (including huntsmen and red backs - omg - I hate those things) and put up some fairy lights and a hammock.

Buster at the gate, "guarding" the house - he's a bit of a poser.
I took this photo only 2 days ago and after a couple of warm days, the rose bush is now literally covered with pink blossom - and the smell is divine.

Buster getting into the photo again - he thinks he looks noble!
I've still got to do some planting and put something colourful (and large!) in those big pots - but that hammock is ideal for when I've done enough potting
 Spring is when my garden looks the best, so while I had the camera in my hand, I walked down the front (in my pj's - talk about lowering the rent!) and took a photo from the driveway

a bit further down the drive and looking back at the house
 aaaah spring, how I love you - the sunshine is so inviting outside without being too hot to be roasted alive, the gardens blooming, vegies growing and everything just feels better in spring.

Hope it's warm where you are

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

WIP Wednesday #8

I'm linking up with Lee of Freshley Pieced - thanks Lee

Seems like forever since the last WIP, but it really has only been a week.

Last wednesday evening I taught my first 'real' class at the local community house - it's a continuation of the classes I've been holding in my home but there was another 4 ladies who wanted to join in so it made more sense to move to a bigger premises and formalise the whole process a bit.

For the new ladies, I'm teaching them a basic sampler quilt I designed on Electric Quilt - so of course I had to road test both the blocks and my instructions.  I made all the blocks (12 in all) and wrote lesson plans and hand-outs for the first 2 sessions - this is one of the blocks - I can't quite put my hand on a graphic of the full quilt just at the minute...

I also got a couple of more Farmers Wife blocks completed

Bringing me to 52 - almost half-way

Got another couple of Hexies done - I now have 16 (no photo - next week!) and made a good start on my Modern Christmas Tablerunner Swap - just waiting on some feedback from my seceret swap partner and then I can move on - still need to make a couple of tree ornaments to go with this but I know what I'm going to do and thats half the battle.

To summarise:


Quilts in Progress:

2 more Farmers Wife blocks completed
Blanket Box Hexies - made another 2
Class Sampler quilt - all blocks completed
MCTS - top almost completed

No action at all:



Psychedelic tartan - who knows??
Double diamonds - still needs something......
Which way to go - needs quilting
Dancing with the stars - needs quilting
Kimono mini - needs binding
Sashiko qayg - needs finishing!
Red and white challenge - needs properly starting
Whirleygig II - needs quilting

Please click on Lee's "Freshley Pieced WIP wednesday" button on the right to see what others are up to

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Birdies on the wing - FWQA

After a simply glorious Melbourne spring day I came inside to make the next 2 Farmers blocks - both birdy references and both 'hovering' and given they are very similar, I made them together - the second one came together easier than the first, although I didn't really have any issues with either of them.

The one on the left is Block 51, Hovering Birds and the one on the right, Block 52, Hovering Hawks.  I'm almost half way through the blocks - 2 more will see me just past that point and I'm starting to think about sashing etc - and it does my head in!

Here's how they're looking all together (via EQ6)

Half of me wants to push on and get those white spots filled................and the other half thinks, "meh!" - soooo much other stuff to do..

I'm liking the idea of a list - Susan at Canadian Abroad is making a winter stitching list - but here Downunder I'll have to make a summer stitching list - although it must have lots of time for lazing by the pool, and barbeques, and mango daiquiris, and snoozing under the air-con........

Monday, 17 October 2011

Christmas is coming..

So I've been working on my Modern Christmas Tablerunner Swap.

My secret partner liked my sketch - which I would really love to say I came up with all by myself - but, I didn't - whilst looking for inspiration, I found a book I'd had for at least 100 Years "A Passion for Patchwork" by Lise Bergene - and flicking through that I found a wonderful project I could adapt, based on my partner's likes and dislike - so win/win really.  I also found a few other things I'd like to make too...

And on saturday I pulled fabrics, heat 'n' bonded, and cut and sewed a little and made this mock up..

then I made a few churn dash blocks - these little cuties are 3" finished, and I'm working with 100% linen so I did question my sanity more than once...

I was sort of hoping after making the first one that I wouldn't really like how it looked against the stars etc....but, I loved it so had to make a few more!

That's it so far - hope you still like it partner.

Saturday, 15 October 2011


I'm going to link up with TGIFF (Thank Goodness it's Friday Finishes) because M-R kindly asked me too!!

.........and I'm wheeling out Jewelled Promise again - so for those who have seen this already, apologies - but I am a bit proud of it and any chance to show off sounds good to me (my ma would be horrified!)

So, blogged about here and here's another photo....

Pop over to M-R's blog and have a look at what others have finished.


Friday, 14 October 2011

Fabulous friday

I had a couple of lovely surprises through the post - one a beautifully made gift and the other, a challenge.

The gift was made by Rachel of Stitched in Colour - she made journal covers for all the hosts of the do.Good Stitches program she runs, by way of a thank you - and mine is just gorgeous.  Rachel put out the call for the first Aussie host last year and in my new status of Sewing Queen- in-residence, I decided to answer - and I'm so glad I did.  Included in the package was a Stitch magazine (the one with Rachel's Alphabet Soup quilt in it - and several other projects that have now been added to my ever expanding 'to make' list!) and some do.Good Stitches labels.  How wonderful - and so incredibly generous both from a time and effort perspective.  Thank you Rachel - it's my pleasure to be part of such a giving community.

The other lovely surprise came from one of my sisters in the UK.  Heather, who does the most exquisite work, is making a wedding quilt for one of our nephews.  She has sent me 3 of the blocks she's made, along with some additional fabric, so that I can contribute to the quilt - now, whether I have to make 3 blocks or add borders to hers is not entirely clear (emails have been sent!), but suffice to say, whatever I have to do, I'm really chuffed she's asked me.

Hope you're having a fabulous Friday

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

WIP Wednesday #7

I'm linking with Lee at Freshly Pieced - I didn't get to do it last week because we were away camping, so I have a couple of weeks to show.

I had a great finish - the DWR (recently christened 'Jewelled promise') all bound and labelled and washed and rolled..

blogged about here
I've made 2 more Farmers Wife blocks, bringing my total to 50, so only 61 to go!!

I made a big bag to carry my stuff around for class

 I got my October do.Good Stitches blocks finished and also created and made 12 sampler blocks for my new teaching gig - no photos as yet - will blog about this in a seperate post.

and I'm sure there's lots of other stuff that I haven't mentioned - been quite busy really!

To summarise:


Quilts in Progress:

2 more Farmers Wife blocks completed
Blanket Box Hexies - made another 2 and have 1/2 of another done

No action at all:



Psychedelic tartan - who knows??
Double diamonds - still needs something......
Which way to go - needs quilting
Dancing with the stars - needs quilting
Kimono mini - needs binding
Sashiko qayg - needs finishing!
Red and white challenge - needs properly starting
Whirleygig II - needs quilting

Please click on Lee's "Freshley Pieced WIP wednesday" button on the right to see what others are up to

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Farmers Wife and other distractions

I'm supposed to be writing my lesson plan and handouts for my first, formal teaching gig tomorrow night - I'm teaching a sampler (12 blocks, 12" finished, modern style) - and I have been Queen Procrastinator both yesterday and today...

I made all the blocks for the sampler I'm going to teach - although really, I had to do these!  One of the blocks is a 9 patch so  I made 2 more to show how versatile these blocks are (Disappearing 9 Patch etc) Another is Dutchman's Puzzle

I kept checking on Flickr, which, this evening, finally started to play nicely................I read a few blogs.................. I decided I needed a huge bag to carry my supplies to and from class, so I found some scraps (the Santorini range from Tula Pink) and stitched them all together, stitched some odd pieces of batting together, made a quilted piece of fabric, added pockets and handles and now I have a bag,

Then I thought I really must get to those lesson I made a couple of Farmers Wife blocks - this makes 50 all up - only 61 to go...

Block 49, Honeycomb and Block 50, Honey's Choice - my favourite
 .....but it's now 8.30pm and I have run out of excuses - and time, as tomorrow I have appointments virtually all day - so I'm going to post this and go and do my lesson plan - I wouldn't mind, but I know as soon as I get the structure I'll be fine........

Monday, 10 October 2011

Swap shenanigans and doing Good Stitches

I'm having all sorts of problems with Flickr - I can't seem to get into the groups, or if one finally opens, it's taking, like, forEVer, duh!!

So, thought I'd update here on blogger - hopefully this won't start a go-slow (really must buy a new pc - I think this one is giving up the ghost, notwithstanding issues with Flickr) omg - just reviewed the post - thank goodness - I'd spelt Flickr with a NZ accent - think fush and chups for those who don't know what I'm on - bit of a freudian slip methinks - it's what I think of Flickr just now *evil grin*

So, on with the show....

I made the October blocks for our Cherish circle of do.Good Stitches:

All Kona solids, Snow combined with a) Peacock and b) Tangerine
 And I posted my ideas so far for the Modern Christmas Runner swap at Susan's - there's already a few comments - excellent - because it's all very Secret Squirrel with regard to your partner so you really hope your partner comments, and comments affirmatively!!

We'll see what transpires before cutting out any fabric.....


Saturday, 8 October 2011

On line again

Just got back from gorgeous few days (albeit cold) camping in Daylesford - we went with my sister-in-law Robyn, and her husband - and it was very relaxing.  Robyn is the lady who brought me to the 'dark side', igniting my love for all things quilty, so we have a lot in common - not least of which I'm married to her brother!

We spent a lot of time travelling around the district, with visits to Trentham - and the wonderful RedBeard Bakery.  I can thoroughly recommend this bakery - the bread is divine (and the chocolate flourless cake) and we've decided we'll visit again and take in a workshop - I already make sourdough bread from a starter that's been going for some time - but I don't get the same results as these guys so a little tuition is in order - but damn, there goes that diet again!

Once we'd had coffee at the bakery, the men went their way (hot rods or some such foolery) and Robyn and I went ours.  We went to Ballan first up, specifically to visit Mill Rose Cottage Patchwork, but they're not open on Tuesdays (but I got there later in the week!) so then we went to Ballarat.  We went to two patchwork shops here - Ballarat Patchwork where I got this little lot.  I love coming here - it's bright, full of modern fabrics and the owner, Emma, is an extremely talented designer:

some more reds for my FWQA, greys for a garden quilt I want to make and orange apples cos I liked them
 Next stop was Gail's Patchwork Emporium - a beautiful bluestone cottage filled to the rafters with fabric, books and notions - it was difficult to know where to start, but I persevered and bought this:

A linen fabric for pouches, a grey ashiko print for my bff, reds for my hexy quilt, a green christmas print that I thought I could use in the Table Runner swap - but after stalking I've discovered my partner doesn't like christmas prints, so into the stash with the rest.
 Then off to Lambley nursery - Robyn saw a photo of a beautifully planted bank that she thought would look perfect at her place - so we went to be inspired and possibly find the plants they used.  It's a gorgeous place and well worth the visit.

So, back to the campsite and a glass of wine and nibblies before dinner (we're very civilised!).

Rob and Robyn went home the next day, so Lloyd and I had a wander around Daylesford - we hadn't been there for years and there's quite a few changes.  Daylesford also has a patchwork shop, Threadneedle Craft, which stocks beautiful wools and embroidery threads.  This came home with me:

Some more greys for a garden quilt - have enough now so can start this one, a red for FWQA, christmas charm squares for christmas gifts and a couple of stash buys.
 Back at the campsite I got out my hexy sewing and made a couple more:

New hexies, top left and middle bottom - also thinking these would be better sashed rather than exactly next to each other - will have to have a play with the arrangement when Ive got a few more.

On the way home, we went via Ballan and Mill Rose - omg, gorgeous place, beautiful setting and the fabric - wow.  I could have happily bought the shop out, but bank balance and disapproving noises from my husband limited the spend to these:

Some French General in blues and a larger piece for my hexy quilt, some Fossil Ferns (love these), a little more red for FWQA, some Liberty (my fave), orange dots and linen for a pouch or two and a charm pack of Little Apples
I was one happy camper (har har)

A late breakfast/early lunch (brunch then) at Mill Cottage next door and off home to unpack and degunge the trailer etc etc.

House still standing (thank you son of mine), animals all alive and then back into the sewing room for me - the next few days I'm concentrating on getting my lesson plans and samples ready for my first formal teaching gig which starts next week - 10 weeks worth of sampler quilt, 1/4" seams, pressing and other basics to a new and enthusuastic bunch of women ready to take on the quilty world - eeeeeek!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Off camping off line for a few days - talk to you when we get back.........

Sunday, 2 October 2011

DWR Finish

the sun's shining through which is why you can the see the 2 tone effect of the backing
 This quilt started life in May 2010 when I cut out all the pieces ready to take with me when my husband and I went West.  I used a template from Matilda's Own which has handy little 'holes' so you can mark where the joins need to be - I found these invaluable.

We had decided to go from Somerville, Victoria to Margaret River, Western Australia so we hitched up the camper trailer and spent the next 4 weeks camping across the bottom of Oz, through South Australia, along the Nullabor Plain and into the Great South area of WA - Esperance, Albany then onto Margaret River.  All up we travelled some 8,000 kms.  We had a fantastic time and saw some beautiful places - what a land of contrasts we live in - and I kept a journal - this is the cover:

I traced and embroidered the lower part of the Australian coastline onto a piece of my hand dyed fabric (except Tassie - sorry Kathy!) I then embroidered 2 lines to represent where we stopped - the red line is going to Margaret River and the blue line, coming home
While we were away, I completed about 3 'melons' - I can't sew while in the car (I get carsick - have done since I was little) so I only got out the sewing if we stayed longer than 2 days and only then if there wasn't anything to explore.

A 'melon' is the eye shape - 4 of them together make up the 'ring'
 Most of the fabrics for the rings is Kaffe Fassett and the white is a quilters muslin by Emma Louise in vanilla - it has the softest feel and the needle goes through it like a hot knife through butter.

This quilt could then have sat in the UFO box but I had a chance to join a little group of quilters at the local community house.  This group, quite a bit older than me, is fantastic - we don't take sewing machines as there's not a great deal of room, so I took the DWR along and just kept stitching.  Everyone was so encouraging and before long I was joining melons to make the rings.  Then I joined the rings.

I decided on a 5 x 6 combo - but later decided to do another row so it finished 5 x 7.  I machine sewed the back together (just 2 pieces of fabric, so one long seam) and put it all on the long-arm to baste, in preparation for hand quilting.  Hand quilting was a simple stitch in the ditch around all rings and melons using quilters thread, then a stencilled heart in the middle of the rings using perle no.8.

Lastly, some hand-dyed fabric that should have been red, but finished orange (must read the maunfacturers instructions again) was made into 'proper' binding and it was hand stitched on - and I finished hand stitching it down last night.

Given it's been a long time in the making and I have pets, I put it into a pillow case and threw it into the washing machine on a delicate setting - so it's on the line now, drying - hence these pictures.

I'm really happy how it turned out - the colours glow (that's Kaffe for you) - and I still can't quite beleive I hand stitched a large quilt.

I will make another of these, in different clours and probably with solid arcs instead of the pieced arcs, and I'll make it bigger - but I think next time I'll sew it by machine.