Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Make a Wish

After admiring my new quilt on the wall for a few days, it occurred to me that too much of the black background was visible through the lighter fabrics (mainly light orange through yellow and pale green). It didn't take me long to realise I was going to have to do something about it for my own peace of mind. I unpicked about 1/3 of the hand applique on the outer, cut 2 layers of soft iron-on interfacing to just fit in the gap, ironed them on, and replaced the stitching. I finished the stitching on the back verandah this morning, enjoying the wisteria scent - while Eleanor slept and James did the 'watening' with an old watering can and found all the dandelions he could.

Sunday, 28 September 2008


Today we took James and Eleanor to Monarto; an open-range conservation zoo about 70km out of Adelaide. It opened in 1993, and I haven't been since it first opened. It has come a long way, with a lot of new viewing areas and developments just opened or about to open. I'd love to go back and do the meet-and-greet-the-baby-cheetahs tour - if I had a spare $350!

It's mostly African animals; giraffes, cheetahs, lions, painted dogs, white rhino... There are organised bus tours through most of the animals, and both kids lasted well through the 1-hour tour. James isn't too well, and did fall asleep in my lap at the end, and Eleanor did her share of wriggling in Simon's lap, but was quite happy.

It's hard to get good photos with James jumping around my lap, but here are a few of the day. This baby giraffe was only born last week.

Eleanor riding a zebra. There's a large area of bones, pelts, horns, hooves etc to touch.

James had his hand eaten by a lion: James was also very excited to have a camel ride. He keeps telling me it was bumpy!

We should take them to the zoo more often. Certainly we will soon; from next October, Adelaide Zoo will have a pair of Giant Pandas - my favourite animals!


My newly completed quilt for me No Pot of Gold is hanging temporarily in the study. I'm enjoying it!

Version 2 has had the in-the-ditch quilting done, and thanks to Helen's recent tip, I have a freshly-wound bobbin of black thread in, ready to start the background stipple/meander.

Friday, 26 September 2008


900-odd metres of beautiful quilt fabric is stored...
  • in one wooden trunk
  • in my horn sewing table cupboards
  • in 11 large (30L and 50L) clear plastic stackable tubs, which stack perfectly under the leaves of said table
  • in random piles around the study

I feel a 1km giveaway when I reach the milestone sometime next year - and some photos of the augmented stash!

One completed quilt top, ready to be quilted for Jonathan David:

Thursday, 25 September 2008

There went 900

This morning a package of whites and neutrals arrived on my doorstep, taking my stash to 909m! There were really well-priced, and I find myself often wanting larger amounts of basics, so stocked-up from a local online supplier for a change!
Late this afternoon I took a couple of quilts outside to photograph. I got some decent shots, but am hoping our wisteria will be out in full bloom to get some more of one before I send it off, and the other needs to be photographed flat on the floor, from directly above to get a nice overall photo - I just need to work out how to get high enough to get a shot straight down and square over the large top. I did get this nice one of a dandelion though!
And here are some early spring flowers I brought back inside with me.
And here is a completed whirl block.
I just need to put the 4 together with some black sashing, add a black border, and the top is done. Nice and simple.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

New beginnings

This morning, around the time I was at the quilt shop buying more fabric to restart his new quilt, my cousin's baby boy made his appearance! So now I need to hurry up and finish it, so Gran can take it with her when she goes to visit in the next few weeks. One of these 8in blocks will form the centre of each of the four swirls. The rest is cut, and I've removed the foundations from these; now to add the black background.
I swear I only went for more black, and a blue to fill a gap (the spot in the top row), but somehow I ended up with 5 metres for my stash quite apart from those and the perfect binding fabric (top left; to be cut vertically)!
Eleanor had a wonderful time giggling as she ran around the shop, taking particular delight in pushing over any bolts of fabric not tightly in shelves, one at a time, and listening to the satisfying 'thud'. James was entertained by Chris, looking at photos of his farm on the computer.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Clancy update

After ten straight nights without tears at bedtime, and without finding a sleeping boy in the hallway, I think we can call Clancy a complete success! Thank you very much Ellie!

Bedtime tonight

I've finished Change of Season and am just waiting for baby to make her appearance so I can do the label.
I do wish I could phorograph my quilts properly! Once again it looks as though it's not square - and it is! And I'm still getting blurred edges - distance helps, but sometimes that's hard to achieve. I'll phtograph this quilt properly tomorrow if it's not too wet. We had a reversion to winter today - cold, windy and very wet!

No Pot of Gold

You won't find a pot of gold at this rainbow's end, because it doesn't have one! But I liked it so much, I couldn't bring myself to give it away, so I'm finishing it for myself!
As blogged the other day, I designed it for a second baby, to match the one I made for the first. I spent ages doodling with curvy lines before hitting in the circle idea, which I instantly liked. The centre black circle is 12in diameter adn the whole circle is 24in. Unfortunately it meant applique, but I'm doing more of that these days - and getting better and faster at it! And now I've had to deisgn another, which I need to get to work on!
I started the applique last night, using tiny blanket stitches with invisible filament on the machine. About 1/8 of the way around, I decided it was the wrong method, and spent ages unpicking before starting the tedious blind hand-applique. That might be where my attachment formed! Here it is all pinned to applique; I thought the pins gave it a fireworks-effect!
I used the same beautiful multicoloured variegated thread I used in the last quilt; not quite as effective on black as white, but still pretty good. I started the radiating lines freehand, until Simon asked if they were meant to curve? Oops! So I started marking a few guides to keep me straight!
The centre needed quilting, but I didn't want to detract from the rainbow, so put black thread on the spool, and did a small stipple a la Helen. As you can see, I left the rainbow thread in the bobbin; it took a while to get a tension I was happy with where the colour wouldn't show through the front and I didn't get too much black on the back. I like this, though it didn't come up well in the photos:

Now, on to the next design!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Tutu Tute

Think he likes it?! Unfortunately he found it for himself before I got up, so I didn't get to see his reaction, but I did hear it! He came running into the bedroom in glee, with it already on!

I did buy some extra white organza to make wings as well, but haven't thought about how I'll do that yet.

Once we were up, we had to replay the 'Lulu's Tutu' eposide of Bananas in Pyjamas about 4 times for him to dance along!
Here are my instructions for a tutu in about half an hour!

(measurements are in inches apart from the amount to buy - multiply by 2.54 to convert inches to centimetres)

I bought 1.5m each of 3 different coloured crystal organzas; this was just right for one each for James (nearly 3) and Eleanor (1). For a single 3yo tutu, I would guess about 3.5m total, and about 2 for a 1yo tutu.
***Crystal organza frays terribly! It looks great - until it frays!***

You will also need about 50cm of elastic about 1in wide, or a metre of wide ribbon.

Cut the organza in 3in strips. This is really fast with a rotary cutter, ruler and mat. I folded the organza in half so that the selvages were together, then in half again, then laid this out on the cutting mat (use a weight at the back to stop it sliding off). If you're not a quilter and don't have these tools, I would fold it in half again, and cut the strips using sharp scissors. It doesn't matter if the strips aren't perfect.

Each tutu has strips in 2 lengths - half each, so I could alternate. The fabric was 44in wide. The longer strips on James' are the full width (possibly a bit long on him, but easy to trim later if you want); on Eleanor's the longer ones are exactly half (22in). For the rest, I cut the strips at the 27in mark for James, leaving 17in for Eleanor's.

Now set up all your strips, and you're ready to start makiing the tutu. I tied one end of the elastic to the chair first (on my right).

Take the first strip, and hold the 2 ends roughly even in your left hand, leaving a loop big enough for your hand to move through. Put your right forefinger and thumb through the loop and open wide.

Stretch the finger and thumb out over and around the loop.

Bring the finger and thumb together underneath.

Let go of the tails with your left hand, and using your left forefinger, pull the top of the loop down.

You will now be able to put your right forefinger straight through the 'knot'.

Transfer the strip to your left hand, ready to load onto the elastic (or ribbon).

Try to ensure you have each knot facing the same way as you load them on, and don't pull them too tight.

Repeat this for all the strips; althernating colours (if you have more than one) and lengths.

Once they're all on, just tie a double-knot and tuck the loose ends into the closest strip knots. Even out the strips around the skirt, and you're done!

Photos of the completed items in yesterday's blog.


On our way to the shops this afternoon, James announced he'd like a 'ballet', please? Having heard his comments about Lulu (from Bananas in Pyjamas) and Dorothy (the Dinosaur) wearing them in 2 of his favourite 'DVDVs', I knew he meant a tutu! A brief discussion followed, in which I told him that usually only girls wear tutus. He finished it off by saying, "But I'd LOVE a ballet please Mummy!"

So, I figured why not? He doesn't care, and he'll have plenty of fun, and later on, Eleanor will love it! Although, I did tell him he'd be mortified when he's older!!! First we had to go Bras'n'Things, to get some more lingerie bags, which I use to wash most items. The satiny items out the front had him asking loudly if he was getting his ballet here?! The girls in the shop were highly amused!

I'd seen no-sew tutus blogged, and knew exactly what I'd do, so we went to Lincraft and headed for the shimmery organza, where he announced he wanted pink. Of course! And sparkles? Naturally! There was only hot pink, so I found some white and pale mauve to tone it down a little, and he proudly carried has bag back to the car.
As I was cutting the fabric, he and Eleanor had a wonderful time playing with the other pieces. I'm tempted to go back for a bit more yardage, just for them to play with!
I ended up making one for Eleanor as well. I picked up a white feathery halo for her at the show for a photo session sometime, and the tutu will go perfectly!As I said to Simon while tieing the strips on - I never thought I'd be making a pink tutu for our son! And to top it off, after shopping, we visited a friend who happened to give me a lipstick. James asked for one too, and was obliged with a pale, shimmery lipgloss, which delighted him. I can't wait to see (and photograph) his reaction when he gets his ballet tomorrow morning!
Once the tutus were done, I spent ages playing with fabrics. I had the quilt all designed to match this one (this was for my cousin's first baby, and their second is due next week), and had even printed the foundations.
But making a circular rainbow with a smooth transition of colours is hard, especially when I had to have exactly 48 fabrics! It took a long time to get it up from 43 to complete the circle.
And finally, just for Helen, here is my new iron.
Look! Steam!!!

Friday, 19 September 2008


More fabric on the doorstep when I arrived home today! But with the Aussie dollar dropping against the US$, I'll wait a while before I do any more big overseas orders. I have, however, just made my first purchase from The Humming Mini, and ordered a stack of brilliantly-priced of white-on-whites and neutral from a local online shop.

But back to today's incoming fabric. Stash = 887m. First, a random selection:
A few more beachy fabrics, as my sister-in-law is expecting her second baby, and I'll be making it a quilt to go with Beach (their wedding quilt) and Seaside (their daughter's quilt). I'll wait until I know what they're having before I start designing, but thought these might come in handy!

And 4y of this large-scale print (the photo shows about 20in wide)......to use with a couple of my recent book purchases; this below and it's sequel (blogged here):

I've also attached the binding to Change of Seasons. It just needs hand-stitching to the back, and then I have to wait for the baby to arrive so I can do the label and send it on its long journey!

I'm enjoying having a steam iron again - I'd forgotten just how much faster it is! Our old iron stopped steaming (well, when it did steam, it tripped the safety-switch!) years ago, but we never bothered to replace it, until a couple of weeks ago the soleplate came loose. Within an hour we had a new iron - why did we wait so long?! This binding was pressed in no time!