Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Back from AWOL - a bit of a mish-mash of stuff

I feel like I've been away from the computer for ever - but in reality, it was only last week, but I haven't caught up with my blog reading nor emails - I've been quite busy - lots of things to see and do - but I got some mail today that I couldn't not share...

Some time ago I received a lovely note from Fiona, my secret partner, to tell me that the MCTS I made for her had been happily received (so glad you liked it Fiona!).

I eagerly awaited mine - and seeing so many beautiful runners in the swap, I was happily anticipating all of them!  However, on November 20th, a photo appeared in the Swap Flickr group that got me thinking that surely that one was mine - red and white (my favourite combo) and stars - and guess what arrived today??  Lynne, from Ridge and Furrow got is sooooooo right - I love it - and the 2 little tree decorations in the parcel are just fantastic.  It's beautifully made and the rich reds in the runner go so well on my dining table........

Just gorgeous - thank you to Lynne for reading me so well and thank you too to Susan for her wonderful Swap bee - I really enjoyed every bit of it.

In other news:

Me and my BFF went to Australian Quilt Market last weekend - we stayed in the city as the market opened early and it was on for 2 days - in the end, we only attended on the saturday -  lots of gorgeous new fabrics coming in as well as threads, patterns and clever tools - we met Saffron Craig and saw her new range, listened to distributers and what they could provide, we were inspired by various talks and bought some fabulous fabrics (no photos of anything - forgot the camera and put everything away when I got home trying for some semblance of order in my sewing room house).  We're also planning to become on-line fabric sellers so we've been looking over the fabrics we want to stock (Echo by Lotta Jansdotta is on top of the list!) - so more on this new venture at a later date.  When I got home and told me husband about the new idea, he FULLY supported it - funny, I've been married to this man for almost 30 years (aaaagh!!) and he STILL has the capacity to surprise me.

On the Sunday, me and my BFF went to the DFO's at South Wharf in Melbourne - Lizzy picked up the bargain of the century at Fossil - a big, gorgeous black leather handbag - for 50 bucks!! - she really is the bargain queen.  We had a great weekend - no-one to please except ourselves - and the weekend incorporated sewing, quilting, fabric, food, movies (The King's Speech, Young Victoria and Oranges and Sunshine) and chocolate - and BFF's - so sensational all round really.

I finished a couple of things...

a flashy tote bag
a new pouch for the Madeit shop
 I sorted out all of my hanging clothes as my son fixed the rail.  So there was a pile of clothes for family to pick over, a pile of clothes (and shoes) for the bin and a pile of suits for a charity that kits women out and prepares them for job interviews.

The 'family' pile has been picked over and the remainder was sorted into 'recycle' or 'op shop'.  So all is in order again - I even found some clothes I had completely forgotten about - and due to me losing a couple of kilos (without even trying - what's THAT about???? - I only want to know so I can be sure to keep doing it) they fit again - woo hoo!

Anyway - I have to prepare for my lesson tonight - my students are on block no. 8 and really learning a lot, so I'm off.  While I'm not a prolific commenter, please forgive me for not leaving any this last week.


testing - cos blogger seems to be having a conniption......

testing - cos blogger seems to be having a conniption......

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A slight deviation

Today I was supposed to be sorting out my hanging (well, laying down on the miners couch) clothes after my hanging rail collapsed - but I didn't get there at all.

I fished around in the huge bag given to me by a TT member and found some beautifully co-ordinating furnishing fabrics, cut them up and sewed them together with some linen and some hot pink polka dot fabric, to half make this..

front - with a pocket


I still take stinky photos and it doesn't look half bad in real life.  It'll end up being a flashy tote - the back and front, and the bottom is lined with a bag weight Pellon (interfacing) which means it can stand up.  It has a wide gusset so it can fit all manner of things - I just have to hand sew the binding down and put some handles on - not sure what handles I want to put on as yet, which is why it's still sitting in my sewing room unfinished.

While I pondered that quandry, I fished about in that big bag again and found a large piece of furnishing fabric that looks like linen - but doesn't behave as badly - and thought it'd make a great skirt.  So off to my paper patterns and I found this..

I like the shape of the blue one, not so much the style though - so I made the blue skirt out of the furnishing fabric, found a Prints Charming screen print (from a small bag of screen prints I bought at a quilt fair from Kelani Fabrics - and which is on my Winter Summer Stitching list to use on a skirt) and cut out a circle which I raw-edge machine stitched to the skirt.  I then made a bias cut striped binding which I used to finish the hem.......and voila.....

and this is a photo my son took - we were going off to watch his girlfriends' end of year dance concert

we were going for an arty farty styled pose but I didn't have my red lippy on!

So, maybe I can sort out my clothes tomorrow.....

Monday, 21 November 2011

Serendipity extended......

Apart from a family issue on saturday morning, the planets continue their alignment for my benefit...

Saturday evening I joined my besty and 2 other girlfriends for a night in the city - we went to see 'Bjorn Again', an Abba cover band and while I'm not a huge fan of Abba, they were fantastic.  The opening act, The New Romantics, had us up dancing to 80's hits - the lead singer had a fabulous voice and didn't take himself too seriously - very funny - and then Bjorn Again - they imitate the costuming, accents (they're Aussies) and songs of Abba in their heydey - so we continued to dance and sing along - and drink far too much wine!  Luckily we stayed in the city (at the Crown Metropole - very nice) and had a sumptuous breakfast overlooking Melbourne city. 

On sunday, I had a date with a group of ladies that have 'adopted' me - let me explain a little - I joined a quilting group last year - we sit and chat about stuff - no lessons or anything - it's mostly hand sewing on whatever we want to do - which is why my double wedding ring quilt got finished and why my hexy collection continues to grow.  Anyway, the woman who hosts this group (Ms CB) did a Textiles course some 20 years ago and she still catches up with the ladies she did the course with - they call themselves the TT  (I forgot to get permission to blog about them so won't spell it out). 

Now, I am doing that same course starting next year and Ms CB invited me to one of the TT gatherings - and these women are so talented - the stuff they've done (and continue to do) is amazing - a few make the most brilliant quilts, another makes the most amazing elfin dolls, yet another makes fabric boxes which are just beautiful - and a few of them teach too - so to fall in with this group is just the best thing to happen!  They are full of advice and ideas and books and hints and so willing to share it - and the lady who hosted yestrday's gathering owns a soft furnishing shop and GAVE me tons of furnishing fabric samples to make bags and pouches with....and they 'adopted' me into the TT's with the offer of help while I do my course.  How wonderful!!!

I was knackered when I got home - in bed by 9pm and after finishing this post I'm off to make a few things out some of the beautiful fabrics I was given yesterday - how lucky am I??

..........except the rail in my walk-in robe collapsed under the weight of my hanging clothes and they're now strewn all over a miners couch in my bedroom (and I HATE ironing!!) - I think those planets are suggesting I need a bit of a clean out!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Favourite thing Friday

There's a very serendipitous air wafting about the place, so it's not too hard to think about favourite things on this thought I'd share them with Shay at Quilting in my Pyjamas

  • I sold a pouch - on Madeit - my very first sale - very excited!  I sent it on its way to NSW this morning.
  • My fabulous Kate Spain fabric, won at the Bloggers Quilt Festival, arrived in the mail today too
  • I have been confirmed to teach 2 more patchwork groups next semester, with a possibility of another one to be discussed next friday
  • We met my new great-neice yesterday - she lives about 3 hours away so it was a long day - but so worth it - the only thing though, the little minx would not wake up for her aunties, despite our surreptitious efforts, so we left without seeing her baby blues - next time!
  • A family get together tonight to farewell a fairly recent addition who is going back to Canada until her visa can be renewed (there's storms predicted - not because the family is getting together of course, although that is entirely possible too - but because there's a cool change due in after our stinky hot weather today - should be fun!)
  • Our cat, who has been missing for about 2 months, turned up last night, a little moth eaten, skinny and beaten up - and after a feed and a snooze, wandered off again into the night - haven't seen her today but thinking she may just have come home for good
So a great week all up - hope yours was good to you too.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

WIP Wednesday #11

I'm linking with Lee's WIP Wednesday

A mixed bag this week, and not a lot of crossings off on the UFO list, but some progress on current projects:

FWQA - blocks 57 (Morning) and 58 (Mother's Dream)

One hexie - and I played around with the setting of this quilt and I think I'm going to cut lots of equilateral triangles to join mine together - I've seen a few on Flickr and I like the look.

if you squint, it looks like 3 boxes

Some pouches (prototypes, plus a couple of others that have gone into my Madeit shop)

Two do.good stitches blocks, shown here

One client quilt quilted on the long-arm - it was a biggun too!

So, to summarise:


Client long-arm quilting
5  pouches
do. good stitches blocks for november


2 client quilts for long-arm quilting
1 charity quilt for long-arm quilting

Quilts in Progress:

Blanket Box Hexies - total made, 27
 FWQA - total made, 58

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 .....

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Stuff and nonesense

Had a funny sort of day today - it took me ALL day to make 2 pouches - mostly due to the fact I spent an inordinate amount of time staring into space - and it was such a lovely day outside (well, before the cool change) that I could have been out there soaking up some Vitamin D - but, there you go.  I do have some stuff to show though - quite a disparate group to be sure.....

edge to edge quilting (shown from the back) for a client - finished on the long arm on friday

After I finished the client quilt, I had a scathingly good idea about sewing the heavy interfacing onto the fabrics I'm using for pouches etc. - I pinned on a long piece of interfacing onto the quilting machine, laid the fabrics on top and simply 'quilted' them to attach (no photo of that because I forgot!) - obviously iron-on interfacing would be so much easier - but I have a big roll of heavy duty stuff without the iron-on option (I got it at a really good price).  So I made some prototypes for a different shape of pouch I'm contemplating...

these can be buttoned down to keep your mug safe if you take it to class etc, your hairbrush, 3pm pick-me-ups......
....or the top rolled down for easy access - the shape means they can stand up by themselves.  My neice has already pinched taken the one on the right - it's an Echino print - good taste!
the two pouches that took me ALL day - that dog alone took at least 3 hours! - these will be listed in my Madeit shop
...and to finish off, a few pictures of the vegie patch - you know, I planted so many tomato seeds in the greenhouse back here, some sprouted, but then they carked it - I don't seem to have much luck raising tom seeds - same thing happened last year, so about a month ago, I went off to Bunnings for heirloom tomato plants - and today, what do I see popping up all over the place in the vegie patch - you guessed it - tomato plants!

Back - rhubarb and pumpkin (you can't see the pumpkin yet)
Middle - asparagus, bok choy and pak choy (we're already eating the choys)
Foreground - tiny capsicum seedlings and rogue tomato plants
Back - snow peas, sugar snap peas and beans
Middle - leeks
Foreground - carrots

Back - sweet corn
Middle - lettuce, which you can't see, and we're already harvesting
Foreground - heirloom tomatoes

The far bed - sorry, rotten photo
Back - zucchini, pumpkin
Middle - eggplant, cucumber
Foreground - spring onions and leeks

Right then - have to write my lesson plan for tomorrow nights' class and list the two pouches on Madeit - and maybe tomorrow will be a little more productive!

Monday, 14 November 2011

'Cherish' circle do. Good stitches for November

We had great instructions from Jenna (this month's quilter) - any block we like, as long as it finishes at 12" square and uses an orange/aqua/white/grey colour palette - and luckily I had just added oranges and aquas to my stash (still no grey though - I really will have to remedy that)

So first up I made 'Circle of geese' - foundation pieced and pretty easy.....

it's little more vibrant than this photo shows
The second block I decided to do a star - and originally I thought a carefully pieced star, with quarter square triangles and precise points - but then I remembered I really like the look of wonky stars so I gave that a go - and created a little Aussie Sunshine block (thongs in the middle are a dead giveaway!)

This quilt will be a stunner I'm sure - the colours alone will see to that - great choice Jenna.

Friday, 11 November 2011

I'm a WINNER!!!! (fantastic friday anyone?)

I received a very exciting email from Amy (the Bloggers Quilt Festival) to tell me that my linky number was randomly picked for a PRIZE - so my Jewelled Promise (I won't bore you again with another picture - but here's a link JUST IN CASE you want another look) has delivered a Promised Jewel (or it will, when the Postal Services of 2 countries have done their thing).

I won 12 - yes, 12 - fat quarters of Kate Spain's 'Terrain' from the very generous Ronnie of The Quilted Garden

I pinched this picture from Ronnie's shop
I am absolutely stoked - I have seen this range all over the place and have been secretly coveting it - and now it's coming to ME - yay team!!

Ronnie sent me an email straight after I confirmed my email address and has been so helpful, so I'll have to work out how to add Ronnie's shop on my sidebar because I said I would.....I have absolutely no issue promoting fantastic service - having been in the service industry for most of my career and being a receiver of service as a consumer, it's soooo refreshing to get great service - and I didn't even buy the fabric! 

Well, winners are grinners and that's exactly what I've been doing since that email arrived....hope you have a fantastic friday.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

WIP Wednesday #10

It's that time of the week again and although I don't always make it, I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced - it's her 1 year anniversary of WIP Linky posts - thanks Lee - a sterling job!!

We have had the mother of electrical and rain storms today - flash flooding, hail and lightning all over the place - it flooded the local community centre where I teach patchwork on wednesday evenings, so those who braved the rain came to my house to sew instead - it's still raining and the pool looks like it's about to overflow - and given the pool pump has seized (the man is coming out on Friday to either fix or replace it), we may be swimming in our beds!!  I'm also just a little concerned about my vegie patch - I was very happy about how things are growing out there, but the hail may have decimated it - I'll have a look tomorrow.

But, onwards and upwards....since the last time I reported on a WIP Wednesday, there has been some progress:

I made more hexies and cut out some 'plain' ones, so now I have 26 - I think another 14 or so and I can start putting them together with sashing - then a couple of borders and the top will be ready.  The hexies are hand pieced, but everything else will be done by machine.

I started and completely finished a quilt that will go into my shop (either at Etsy or Madeit)

Made a few more FWQA blocks (blogged about here)

I'm now over half way on these so that feels pretty good.

I finished a UFO (now in my Etsy shop)

I lined some pouches with my hand dyed fabric, and listed those in my Etsy shop

...and on the Long-arm side, I've quilted one very large charity quilt, a lap size client quilt and loaded a queen size client quilt ready for quuilting tomorrow.


To summarise:


Whirleygig II quilt
Nest quilt
3 pouches

Quilts in Progress:

Blanket Box Hexies - total made, 26
4 FWQA - total made, 56

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 .....

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

On days like this....

So last night I loaded a commission quilt on the beast and given my son and his girlfriend now sleep next to the room I have the beast in, I thought to myself that I'd get it quilted in the morning - so as not to disturb them, you understand - and then I can be a bit domesticated in the afternoon - maybe hoover up the dust wombats (they're waaaaaay past bunnies).

My client wanted an all over meander, avoiding the appliqued train - so, started quilting this morning and it's going really well....I'm meandering like a good thing and avoiding the applique...then I thought I could maybe quilt a line about 1/4" from the train to really make it started to do that and unfortunately my 1/4" line became anywhere between 1/8" - 1" from the train....oh oh, stop doing that, unpick.  Start meandering again.....

I finished a pass and noticed that the top thread was running really well, a bit too well really, and when I went to cut the threads, I put my hand underneath the quilt and it didn't feel right - felt a bit fuzzy - so eased off the tension on the quilt so I could take a good look underneath......and here's what I saw..

OMG -  the correct terms for this sort of happening is 'eyelashes' - and these eyelashes belong on the main characters in 'Priscilla, Queen of the Desert', not on the back of my clients' quilt.  When I was unpicking my sort of 1/4" line, I must have inadvertently knocked the top thread out of the tension spring - aaaagh.

It was pretty easy to unpick, thank goodness, and it left a nice little pile of thread

Retensioned the top thread and off I went again - without incident this time...

gordon bennett i take a rotten photo!

here's the back - plain red and while it's not obvious, the thread i've used is variegated blues, through purple to red

 - but it totally put me off hoovering those wombats.  Instead, I gave the beast a thorough clean and oil, put in a new needle and loaded another quilt - this one is going in my Etsy shop.  Once this one's done, I have another commission quilting job, so looks like those wombats may become cows before I get to them.
Top and backing loaded and just waiting for me to attach the batting before I can pull the top up and start quilting.
I'll blog about this quilt once I've got it quilted.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

All packed up

I love crossing things off my To Do list and tomorrow, when this parcel is handed over to the shenanigans of Australia Post, a big line will be ceremoniously drawn through the task that culminated in sticking down the flap of this very parcel...

names have been deleted to protect the innocent...

This whole thing started when Susan, of Canadian Abroad, decided to host her very first swap - a Modern Christmas Tablerunner Swap (MCTS for short) - and I decided it'd be a good idea to join up, along with 50 or so more from across the globe.  

Susan, as swap mamma, provided a fabulous framework in which to participate and every one of this wonderful group of ladies (yep, all women, no blokes) embraced the spirit; providing support, adding suggestions and comments, and not all neccessarily to do with Christmas Runners either *smirk* !!

 This swap was just so much fun that my appetite is whetted to probably join another swap in the future - and I beleive Susan is planning another so I'll definately be on board for that.

So from being provided with my secret swap partners name, to checking out her likes and dislikes, to creating an inspiration mosaic for the one making a runner for me, to drawing, and practicing, and unpicking, and sewing, and quilting...

it's done - and it finished at about 14" x 50" (give or take an inch or 2)

The runner is quilters 100% cotton fabric, linen, perle thread, wool/cotton batting. 
The little ornaments are a felt birdy with perle thread stitching and sparkly eyes and a paper bauble

I really love how it came out and I really hope my partner does too - so now I get to stalk the postie til mine arrives......

Friday, 4 November 2011

Quilties v.1.2

Lucky for me that Sandie had a photo of my quilties...

The theme was buttons, so I had a think about their function and their form.

From the left:

"Boys will be boys" - this came from seeing the results of a wild night out - red wine, lipstick, unexplained tears and holes in the shirt - I obviously know some wild boys!  The front of this quiltie is an old business shirt and the back came from a suit.  The quiltie was raw-edge finished with lots of loose threads and general chaos.

"The Weed" - I had just come indoors from a day in my vegie patch, weeding - so weeds were definately on my mind.  I remembered that someone once told me that any plant can be deemed a weed if it grows unexpectedly, even the most beautiful of flowers - so after sewing  lots of flower shaped buttons and seed beads onto a 'crazy patch' green background, and filling in with straight stitching and rice stitch, I fashioned the big pink rosey shape from some ribbon (The weed).  This quiltie was zigzagged around the edge to finish.

"Snookered" - the noughts and crosses game became the focus here.  The background was hand pieced to create the 'board'.  A rusty washer, a found button and some bugle beads became the game pieces.  In this game, it's 'noughts' turn to play - but no matter where they place their piece, they can't win - they're effectively snookered.  I printed the definition of 'snooker' onto some tape and ironed it on the bottom left.

So that was my little bit of artistry..........and yesterday I received some artistry from other swappees:

The one on the left is from Sandy Rowe - she didn't give me details of a blog or an email address - but the 'Pink Ribbon' is definately dear to my heart, so thank you Sandy - the quilting on this little sweetie is beautifully done.

The one in the middle is by Marilou - the fun fabric is by Mary Englebreit and Marilou has added some special buttons which relate to the theme of "Well ain't you somethin'?"  She also added a crocheted border in red (my fave colour) - thank you Marilou, love it.

The one on the right is 'Flower Fairy' and was made by The Queen of Dreamsz.  This one incorporates a gorgeous ribbon flower with crocheted sparkly wings and lots of buttons - just spectacular.

All in all a very interesting exercise - and gives me plenty of material for my Diploma of Textiles starting next year.  Thanks Sandie for organising the swap - I had a lot of fun.

Thursday, 3 November 2011


Back in September I took up a challenge by Sandie to make and trade 3 quilties with a button theme.  The teeny quilts are made to finish 4" x 6" and can incorporate many techniques - much like an Artist's Trading Card, they're miniature works of art that can be traded, swapped, displayed etc etc.   I'd never made anything like this before, so I thought to myself, "Why not?"

So, out came the journal and the colouring pencils and I faffed about with a couple of ideas.  Once I sought of knew what I wanted to do, I started making them - none came out as I originally planned - but that's the beauty of this sort of medium - you go where your quilties take you!

It was my intent to show you the ones I made to swap - but I can't find my photo's anywhere!  They're obviously a victim of my recent computer change over - aaagh.  I cleaned up all my photos prior to transferring all the files (which took over 16 hours using the 'easy transfer'  method) so it's quite possible I've deleted them in error - damn!!

So, I was then going to show you the ones I received yesterday - all of which are fantastic and so full of clever elements that I see something different each time I look at them.......and my camera is out of juice!

So, maybe I'll come back later in the day and try again........

I'm linking up with Lynn at Lily's Quilts at the Small Blog Meet - be sure to leave a comment so I can return the favour.  Cheers!!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Half time, 50.45%, downward slide, etc, etc

I have been doing a little farming this last week and made 4 blocks - which now means I am just over half way to becoming the ultimate Farmers Wife.  56 blocks are now completed, leaving 55 to go - half of me feels just a bit excited and the other half thinks, "meh, I've still got to make 55 blocks...."!!
So, in the bag are: jack-knife

loved how this came together - points met, right size finished - awesome!!
kitchen woodbox

looks fab-o on point

obviously needs to be replaced with slate, or tiles...
maple leaf
in homage to my canadian friends
I still go to fabric shops and look at red fabric, thinking, "ooh, that'd be good for my farmers wife" - I think I need to wean myself off that now - I've got enough red fabric for 12 Farmer's Wives - maybe I should start a red Dear Jane quilt along (although I'm sure there's already one out there), or a 'better red than dead' quilt along - aaah, the possibilities.

Whatever, here's to no. 56 block and let's get on with no 57.