Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Slow stitching

I like to have a couple of hand piecing projects on the go, so I can take them along to sit and sew days rather than mess around packing up a machine and all the associated paraphernalia (pedal, cord etc). 

I'm finding that the TATW while still quite portable is a bit large for some occasions, Sheila suggested that I start piecing the blocks for the last border of the Museum Medallion (started in 2013) quilt.  I had already cut out and marked the pieces a year or more ago, so it was just a matter of locating them and getting them out ready to piece.

There are 44 circle blocks and 4 corner stars for the final pieced border, I need to piece 176 quarter circle blocks and then piece them to make the circle blocks.  I've taken them along to two sit and sews recently and have made 35 quarter circle blocks so I'm slowly getting there.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

who knew there was a much deeper meaning to that old nursery rhyme?

My garden is growing quite well actually ... 

 Six weeks has seen a lot of growth in the beans, both climbing and dwarf, the silver beet is starting to bolt but I'm making a pie tomorrow which will take care of quite a lot of it.  The sage needs pruning back and the spring onions are flowering, but still quite edible.  The zucchini (aka courgette) is growing quite well and I never gave away any of the plants so it looks as if we will have a zucchini fest sometime in our future. The tomato plant which isn't visible needs to be staked or it will fall over from the weight of the cherry tomatoes (still green).

I've found a few caterpillars eating the leaves but they have been dealt with.  The recent hot spell saw the plants looking a little bit sad by late afternoon but some extra water soon perked them up by the next morning.  I've been watering morning and late afternoon which seems to be enough to keep the plants happy, I think the shade cloth also helps otherwise it would all be a dried up mess as the sun is just too fierce.

 Looking at this photo I can see there are quite a few more beans there than there appears to be looking from the top.  There should be enough for the two of us to eat by this time next week.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Recent fabric acquisitions

I purchased a couple pieces of fabric from Reece Scannell at the recent Craft and Quilt Fair, for once I was quite restrained and to be honest there wasn't much that appealed to me this year.  The only book that I wanted to buy was sold five minutes before I asked about it, and there were no rulers of the type that I wanted so most of my money stayed in my purse this year.

The fabrics pictured below were some that I received as a birthday gift from my mother in New Zealand. Check out the two bird prints, the green background Pukeko print and the Tuis and Pohutukawa graphic print  (there are a couple of short videos on the Tui link that are interesting to watch) I love them both.

Finally this rather large bundle of fabric was part of the prize for my Modern quilt in our recent show, twelve metres of Cotton and Steel fabric from Dayview Textiles who were the very generous sponsor.  I don't have any plans for these fabrics as yet so for the moment they will just sit on the shelf so they can be admired.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Some more quilts

The quilts I'm showing today were made by my friend Sheila, 

the first quilt is called Hexed Mandala and was entered in the Traditional Small category and is a whole cloth quilt. This is what Sheila's quilters statement said:

"This is the result of a fun workshop  at the Adelaide Sewing Centre working with the Handiquilter Sweet 16. Working on a stitched hexagon grid, we were given some suggestions for filling the space.  This one developed a life of its own, morphing into a collection of partial Mandalas, instead of remaining within the hexagon grid, although it can still be seen"

This quilt has beautiful free motion quilting all over, remember this is all quilted by moving the hands and the fabric  (as opposed to a long arm where you move the machine around on top of the fabric) and Sheila does not use a stitch regulator on her Sweet 16.  As with all quilts I think it is far better to view them in real life than through a photo, but I hope you can gain an appreciation of the work that has been put into this quilt through my photos.

Another of the quilts Sheila entered was the very beautiful Stars and Sprigs and a Little More quilt which was entered in the Predominantly Appliqué Large category.  When Sheila washed this quilt, a couple of the red fabrics ran and it was panic stations for a while.  I believe the quilt was washed a total of FOUR times before all traces of the colour bleed came out.

Sheila's quilters statement follows: Made from a pattern by Australian designer,  Kim McLean, described by her as the Ultimate Scrap quilt, it uses a vast variety of classic and traditional prints.  The leaves were entirely back basted and needle turned, taking almost two years to complete.  Having been persuaded to use a solid backing fabric, the quilting was chosen to compliment the blocks and create a feature of the reverse and took in excess of 100 hours on my non-stitch regulated Sweet 16.

The photos don't really do justice to this lovely quilt.  I know Sheila agonised for ages about whether to quilt it herself or to get it quilted by a long-arm quilter,  I think she made the right decision to quilt it herself, her quilting is really well done and is something I aspire to.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Bird update

The baby rosellas are growing fast, the Mister climbed the tree this morning to have yet another look and he also took a video for your viewing pleasure, they are quite loud so you might want to turn the volume down a fraction. They are normally very quiet birds, but I suppose they were alarmed by the Mister opening up the lid of their box and disturbing them.  I'm guessing it won't be too long before they leave the nest.


I'm not sure if this video (above) is going to work for everyone, I know it works on PC's but doesn't work on an iPad, I'm hoping the one below will work.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

By request ...

the Back of the Literal quilt.

The back is nothing special, I pieced it from some Carolyn Friedlander Crosshatch, and some other bits of fabric I had around the place.  I decided to use the cartoon fabric from Timeless Treasures that I blogged about here as I thought it would give people something to look at and maybe laugh at when they saw it.

While the quilt was hanging at the show we pinned a couple of white gloves to the sides of the quilt so that people could lift the corners themselves.  The first day there were so many people asking to see the back that the White Glove volunteers were run off their feet.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Steampunk Challenge

The theme for our Art to Wear category and Challenge quilt this year was Steampunk  there were quite a few entries in both categories. 

I dithered for quite a while over what I would make, I had several grandiose ideas which were discarded as I realised that I wouldn't have the inclination or the time to make them happen.  I ended up approaching the theme from a humorous angle and used Monty Python and Punch magazine as my inspiration.

Violet (on the left) and Primrose (on the right)  are having a conversation which goes like this:

Primrose: You are looking a trifle discombobulated today, Violet
Violet: I'm worried about the Steampunk Challenge.
Primrose: The Steampunk Challenge?
Violet: Yes, Victorian Science Fiction which could mean Science Fiction as we Victorians imagine it.
Primrose: Oh, like the authors Mr Verne or Mr Wells.
Violet: Exactly, or something which incorporates our Victorian style, attitudes and technology in some way.
Primrose: Hmmm, perhaps you could just stick some gears on something and be done with it ....

I used an inkjet printer to do all of the printing, the two figures (clipart images from The Graphics Fairy ) were printed direct to the fabric, iron on stabiliser added,  thread painted, then cut out and stitched to the background fabric. The text was printed on the fabric using this method although as my printer will not mirror image I had to type everything up in Paint and then reverse it all.  In hindsight I should have made the text for the conversation larger so it would be easier to read.  Various cogs were added to the fabric using stencils, foil and printing.  I scribble quilted the background and stitched some metal cogs on, I also used some Derwent Inktense pencils to add small amounts of colour to the figures.

 The funny thing was that after I had started making it I came across this video.

Some replies to the No Reply commenters:

Cookie - I will post a back view of the Literal  quilt shortly.

Flossypatchedbritches -  please come and say "hello" next time, I would love to meet you.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

The Miniature quilt

The second quilt I received a blue ribbon for was a miniature quilt.  I drew out a small log cabin block in EQ7 and played around with several layouts and colour ways although I didn't decide on the final layout until I had made the blocks.

I limited the fabric choices to what was in my batik stash, luckily for a miniature quilt you don't need too much fabric :)  The blocks were made using the foundation method, I usually print my block patterns onto paper and then tear it away after I've stitched the block, this time I used lightweight fabric to print the block pattern on, as I didn't want to take the chance of the blocks distorting when the paper was torn away.

Each log cabin is a 1 and a 1/2" finished square, I then added borders and used the leftover blocks for each corner, the narrow aqua border is 1/8" wide.  The quilting is quite minimal although I did do a fair amount of ditch stitching to stabilise the quilt before I did the decorative quilting, I used metallic threads for the decorative quilting.  The quilt was bound with a single fold binding and finished at 10 1/2" square.

I wrote a poem for the quilter's statement:

Illusions hath gems
an incandescent star glows
on a chartreuse field

the first three words of the poem are also an anagram (4 words - 2, 4, 5, 6)

Friday, 6 November 2015


At the moment I feel a bit like the walking dead, I'm very tired, suffice to say it has been two very long days and there are still two more to go.

The quilt above was my entry into the Modern Quilt Amateur category, it is called Literal (thanks to my sister Jenny for suggesting the name).  I improv pieced the words first and then added more fabric until I had a reasonable sized quilt.  It was quilted on my HQ Sweet 16, the quilting is mainly what I call organic lines with a few spirals and swirls thrown in here and there when I got bored with lines.
I also used a stencil to outline quilt the words "as desired" here and there on the quilt.

Quilt as Desired is the phrase which is often found at the end of quilt patterns and to me it has never been particularly helpful as most people I know would like to be given some ideas for quilting their quilt, so I have taken the phrase literally.  It was quite a fun quilt to make and quilt although I did get a bit sick of the quilting towards the end.

Thanks very much for all the lovely comments, I can't reply to Novice Knitter and flossypatchedbritches as they are both No reply Commenters  but your comments are much appreciated.

Thursday, 5 November 2015


Our Adelaide Festival of Quilts opened today.  This year I entered 4 quilts, and received ribbons for 3 of them, I was stunned and speechless.

photos of the quilts will follow tomorrow, it has been a long and exciting day.