Friday, 15 January 2016

The Quilter's Planner cover take 2

Back in September last year I read a post on Stephanie's blog Late Night Quilter  about a Day Planner called The Quilter's Planner  that she was planning to publish. It sounded ideal for me so I signed up for the pre-order campaign on Indiegogo (a crowdfunding website) and my planner arrived early in 2016 (we were advised at the outset that overseas orders would take a little longer to arrive and they could not guarantee arrival before years end)

Although the planner has a nice aqua cover it really needs a fabric cover to protect it from daily wear and tear so Stephanie and Amanda from What the Bobbin collaborated and modified the dimensions on Amanda's Zippy Notebook Cover tutorial so it would fit The Quilter's Planner.  This modified tutorial was made available to all purchasers of The Quilter's Planner.

When I arrived back from NZ, I was itching to do some sewing so rushed into making the cover above, I wasn't very happy with my effort as it is a bit saggy and loose, I like my journal covers to have a nice snug fit, so I decided to make another the next day.

For the second effort I changed the measurements so I could get the snug look I was after, I also used some of this interfacing on either side of the zipper and on the tops of the pockets inside the cover.  The reason I did this was because I wanted a bit of rigidity to these areas to prevent any sagging.

The one problem with making the cover snug was that the tabs are now exposed (photo below) and in time they may become worn, the dimensions of the original cover would prevent this, but as I am aware of this flaw in my cover, I will be careful with how I treat it.

 I used batiks from my stash for the second cover and the method (but not the dimensions) from  my tutorial for a quilted notebook cover, I followed the zipper instructions in Amanda's tutorial. My pockets were also done differently as I wanted less bulk in the seams, using batik lessened the bulk problem as well.

I had a lot of fun with the quilting of the cover, I originally planned to free motion quilt it but then decided to go with straight lines and couching.  The quilting and couching was all done on my Bernina 750QE, using the 1D foot which is a reverse pattern foot (I didn't know the name until I looked it up)

I used perle cotton, sashiko thread, leather thonging, ribbon, and some chenille thread for the couching, the stitch was zig zag (# 2) and the width and length adjusted as required, I also did a bit of straight stitching (#1) and triple stitch (#6)  which I thought was quite effective especially with the variegated thread.  The two threads used were Aurifil Make Ne40 and a variegated Wonderfil Rayon 40wt.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Hellooo 2016 ...

Yes, I'm still alive, I've had a lovely couple of weeks of idleness and now it is nearly time to start work again :(

 Cockle Bay,
one of the lovely, local beaches

The weather was absolutely perfect the whole time I was in New Zealand,  the bad weather didn't start till after I left so I timed that rather well I think.

Last year there were a lot of people picking a word to help give them direction for their year, this year I decided to follow along and choose a word for 2016,  my word is:


  • to take pleasure in; experience with joy.
  • to have the benefit of; have and use with satisfaction.
  • to enjoy onself.
I chose Enjoy as a word because I think that it will help remind me of the pleasure that the simple things in life give, and that I should slow down, relax and enjoy everything.

Block 1 for the Project 48 Quilt

Late last year I signed up to a couple of projects for 2016.  The Project 48 Quilt  (you can still sign up if you want) which is a mystery quilt, the first block came out earlier this week, a nice Churn Dash block.  The other project is the Tribal Block Club at 13 Spools (no link as Amy's service provider is having problems) which starts on Friday, (although I think that will be Saturday here in Australia).  I will be using fabric from the stash for both of these projects (I keep telling myself, "there will be enough fabric, you have plenty of fabric, you don't need any more, make it work")

In other news, my entry into the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge for Quiltcon was not accepted, I'm just slightly disappointed because, to be honest I didn't want the hassle of having to mail it to the USA so it would arrive by 14 January which also meant I would have had to rush around, putting the hanging sleeve and label on before I went to NZ .  I also noticed that some threads were loose on the edge so I will replace the binding with a faced one and take the opportunity to add some more quilting, so all in all,it was a good outcome.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Old stuff

While I'm in New Zealand I've taken the opportunity to look at some of the things Mum has stored away.

I came across an old American Home Crafts magazine from 1973, it is mainly knitting and crochet patterns, but this quilt caught my eye.

I'm using Blogsy to write this post on my iPad and I haven't worked out how it works yet, so the photo above isn't the right way up, but you can still see that it is a Cathedral Window Quilt, there was even a kit available for it.

The cost was $37.50 (American dollars) for the kit, there was 27 yards of unbleached muslin plus a wide variety of cotton prints, I guess that was quite a bargain back in 1973.

I also found a silk patchwork cushion cover that I had made in 1982' it was pieced using English paper piecing, I can remember buying the silk fabric from the embroidery department in Kircaldies, a well known department store in Wellington. The cushion cover could do with a good press I think.







Saturday, 26 December 2015

The Hot

A week or so ago we had a few days where the temperature was over 40°C (104°F) it can be quite a difficult time for everyone especially if there are power cuts because that means aircon and fans don't work which makes it hard to keep cool and of course, there is also the ever present possibility of bush fires.

I keep two water bowls out in the back garden for the birds to drink from.  We get a variety of birds visiting and sometimes I manage to get a few photos if I'm patient and quiet.

We've had a few Crescent Honeyeaters visiting us lately, one day there were about nine of them perched on the edges of the dish in the photo above.  They were all taking turns dipping in and out of the water, they move swiftly so it can be hard to get a decent photo.  (to hear what they sound like click  here)

These photos were taken early evening on one of the really hot days, I've never seen a lorikeet drinking before, he chased off the other birds when he came down.

I'm not sure what sort of bird this is, it stayed there for a long time having a drink. I make sure to keep the bowls filled every day so the birds keep coming into the garden.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

My bad ...

I was doing quite well with the blogging but it seems to have fallen by the wayside yet again.  I've spent the last couple of weeks cleaning up my work room, it was quite a mess as I had just put things down and then put something else down on top of it.

My almost packed handbag 
(actually a briefcase with a shoulder strap so I can carry it messenger style)
I just need to add my iPad and I'm good to go.

I'm trying to develop a new rule for myself: only handle something once, e.g. so rather than opening an email and answering it later, I answer it immediately or delete it, or instead of leaving the dishes on the bench, load them straight into the dishwasher (this is something the Mister needs to work on).

I'm off to Auckland, New Zealand tomorrow, (more specifically Howick) to spend Christmas with my parents.  The weather looks as if it will be quite mild compared to the temperatures we have been experiencing here in Adelaide.

My sewing box, I've managed to pack 
the makings for quite a few blocks (100 or so) in there.

I'm taking a carry on bag (I have clothes and toiletries stashed in NZ) and a handbag/briefcase, I've packed a little bit of piecing to take with me, it doesn't take up very much room yet it has everything I need and it will be enough to keep me busy for the week.

I have lots of books and magazines loaded on to my iPad, I love to read and this is a great way to have a variety of books at my fingertips, without the added weight.

The libraries in South Australia have quite a selection of digital magazines to loan and nowadays I'm  finding that I prefer to borrow them from the library by this means as it is much more cost effective.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


Earlier this year when I joined the Modern Quilt Guild  as an individual member, I noticed that there would be a fabric challenge for Quiltcon 2016, so I signed up for it.  A month or so later I received a registration email and a couple of months after that I received six fat eighths of Michael Miller Glitz fabric.  In the meantime I had managed to source additional fabric from the same range because well, six fat eighths isn't a lot of fabric,  I also purchased some Cotton Couture in black and bright white.

 The rules stated: quilts using a minimum of one of the 12 fabrics from the glitz collection in white, black, silver and/or gold. Additional coordinating Michael Miller solids are permitted. Michael Miller print fabrics may be used on the backing and binding.

I was good to go except I was already on another deadline for our own quilt show, but once that was over there would be three weeks to make and finish my entry.  I mulled over a few ideas while I was finishing off the quilting of my show quilts and settled on my plan which was to draw up a large circle (22"/56cm diameter), roughly sketch in some piecing lines and leave it all until after our quilt show was over.

The piecing itself didn't take long, I had thought I would use white Cotton Couture for the background but it looked wrong, black Cotton Couture worked better except I only had a half metre and I needed at least 1.5 metres. There was none available at my LQS but I found some online, ordered it and had it a couple of days later which allowed me one week to get the quilt finished before the on-line entries closed.

I finished the quilting and binding in four days, took plenty of photos and completed the entry form with a couple of days to spare, because I had forgotten about the time difference in the USA.  Now I just have to wait till the end of December to see if the quilt as been accepted.

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.