Friday, 30 October 2009

Another beach quilt

Nothing's sewn yet, but I'm building up the bottom level of the next beach quilt on the foundations. I pin each piece roughly in place as I cut thm out. Fabric selection ssi done by placing the translucent foundation over the fabric(s) I'm auditioning until something looks right, then I cut with both rotary cutters and scissors, using the foundation (and the pieces already on it) as a rough guide. It's a very inexact method, and I end up with very holey fabric, but the results are usually great. Here I have four of the six foundations laid out; the two on the right have all their fabrics, the other two are part done.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Befuddled Bowerbird ready to bind

Tonight I finished quilting my practice piece from Kellie's workshop. Naturally I couldn't stick to the pattern, but I was constrained by the size of my sandwich (should've followed the instruictions, but, well....) so just added a scrolled 'border'. It's done in the same way as the branches, sewn over 3-4 times with an embroidery thread, free-motion style. I do like the freedom of not being confined to 100% cottoon threads.
I did all the stitching with the sandwich together, so the design is visible from the back, as well. I'm happy with the overall effect of the quiting, but there are too many places where the lines of stitching are either not close enough, or would have been better in a different direction. Quilting this pattern in an empty space on the scrap sandwich was one thing, but using it as a filler around applique, and even the scrolls, has given me extra admiration for the way Kellie manages it. I think I need to examine her quilting closely again, to see how she gets into and out of tight spots.
I wanted to define the border a little more, so while the quilting in the centre is done with white, outside the border I used a pale pink. I'm still unsure whether this was the right decision, or if I should have gone with something ever-so-slightly darker to make the difference a little clearer.
I recently switched to using Superior Bottomline as my top thread (and in the bobbin) for Emming, as recommended by Karen McTavish, and love it. Because it's finer, it actually works out cheaper than the Guterman cotton I was using, and of course bobbins last longer fro the same reason; both real plusses when doing such fine quilting, as it goes through a LOT of thread. But the main advantage is the more polished look it gives the quilting, defining the texture of the pattern, rather than the individual stitches. I think it also results in a softer finish to a heavily-quilted item. I didn't have pale pink bottomline to hand tonight, so used one of the embroidery threads I've liked quilting with recently, but I think in this case the bottomline would have been more effective.
Now I just need to add the bird's eye and choose a subtle binding fabric.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

One word meme

From AJ's blog; feel free to do it if the mood takes you.

1. Where is your mobile phone? Handbag
2. Your hair? Ponytail
3. Your mother? Helpful
4. Your father? Thoughtful
5. Your favourite food? Chocolate
6. Your dream last night? None
7. Your favourite drink? Milk
8. Your dream/goal? Pandas
9. What room are you in? Study
10. Your hobby? Quilting
11. Your fear? Spiders
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Adelaide
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something that you aren’t? Bored
15. Muffins? Sometimes
16. Wish list item? Longarm
17. Where did you grow up? Adelaide
18. Last thing you did? Lunch
19. What are you wearing? Tshirt
20. Your TV? Playschool
21. Your pet? Mad
22. Friends? Far
23. Your life? Busy
24. Your mood? Good
25. Missing someone? Grandad
26. Vehicle? BMW
27. Something you’re not wearing? Jumper
28. Your favourite store? LQS
29. Your favourite color? None
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Forgotten
32. Your best friend? Simon
33. One place that I go to over and over? LQS
34. One person who emails me regularly? Gran
35. Favourite place to eat? Table

Sunday, 25 October 2009


Today was James' 4th birthday. As has happened for the last few years, Simon's work family day was on his birthday, and they put on a great show, so we took James and Eleanor and James' friend Ella along to that, and his party will be in a few weeks. There was facepainting, and predictably we brought home 3 butterflies:
Eleanor was hilarious while having it done:

At four, James is still our little boy. He has a delightful turn of phrase, and a vocabulary which is pure 21st century. Listening to his conversation with Ella in the car today was hysterical! James is the cuddliest little boy around and a sensitive little soul, but he's also full of energy and mischief.
He is still besotted with pink, purple, fairies, butterflies, tutus, sparkles.... so I was pleased to find this bike for him; pale blue with just a few touches of pink - enough to satisfy his pink cravings for now, and hopefully not too much if his tastes change in a couple of years. The doll's seat on the back is perfect for Bec.
This evening both sets of grandparents came with presents, cake, party poppers and balloons.
And there were phonecalls and cards, too. Here he is telling Aunty 'Net about his day:
And tonight I've been icing chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting swirls and 'fairy dust' for him to take to child care tomorrow. I've packed them into my lovely new cupcake courier and keep popping into the kitchen to gloat over it's practicality.
As I ws getting him ready for bed tonight, he announced he'd like to stay four forever. I figure it must've been a good day!
Happy 4th Birthday James!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Ads' Visit and Kellie's Class

Ads flew over to join me for the weekend at Kellie's class at Hettie's Patch here in Adelaide. Despite some dire warnings and ridiculous rumours, we're both relatively normal and had a great weekend.
I'm still waiting for Ads' photos, since on her last evening here we were so busy sewing we forgot to download them. Here she is hard at work:
To start with we worked on a 'practice' project. I think mine looks like a Befuddled Bowerbird, surrounded by the wrong colour:
It just needs the wing and legs adding, and an eye, then I can quilt it. I'm already imagining and mentally designing a Satin Bowerbird quilt with all blues.

And this is my version of the main project we worked on; Willow:
I didn't get as far as I'd've liked before the end of Sunday, mostly because instead of doing homework on Saturday evening after the dinner, I set up my Etsy shop! (Remember the giveaway is still open for a few more days). Naturally I changed a few things. I'm still considering a few options for the layout, and have the birds yet to add. Nothing's sewn on yet.

I also wanted to show off my new pendant which arrived from rocknwrap on Etsy:

Sunday, 18 October 2009

ETSY Opening and Giveaway!

My Etsy shop is now open!

Despite a busy weekend at Kellie's class with Adds (photos and details later) I managed to get the shop stocked and operational tonight. I'd love for you to pop over for a look. The giveaway button on the right now works as a link to my shop; I'll add a proper link soon.

Winter Harvest is one of the quilts for sale.

The giveaway prize is a KIT for Winter Harvest. It will contain instructions, the applique shapes ready-marked on vliesofix, all the fabric for the top, backing, binding and hanging sleeve, even the batting. All you'll need are the threads and general sewing supplies.

To be in the chance to win:

For 1 entry: Post a comment here telling me which of the quilts in my shop is your favourite.

For 2 entries: Post a comment here with a link to you blog post about my giveaway (feel free to borrow relevant photos for this purpose).

For 10 entries: Purchase one of the quilts in my store at and post here letting me know who you are.

International entries welcome.

Entries closed. Winner to be announced shortly.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Instructions for Rory's Rockets

I had a surprise phonecall a few days ago, commissioning Rory's Rockets as a project for Australian Patchwork and Quilting; wanting it and the instructions rather urgently! As thrilled as I was, I had to tell them it was no longer up to me, but that I would contact the quilt's owner, to see if she was still happy to send it off for photography. Happily for me, she was most obliging and not only agreed, but mailed it off via express post the very next day.
So instead of sewing, or tidying up in preparation for Ads' visit this weekend, I've spent the last few nights working on the instructions. It's hard without the quilt to hand, and of course I can't find my notes, but luckily I have the design files and photos to work from. I think one more night or writing will see the instructions done, then there's just the diagrams and steps for photography.

Rory's Rockets is scheduled to be in Australian Patchwork and Quilting Vol 18 No 12, due out in March 2010.

And a reminder about a giveaway (entries now closed) here this weekend to coincide with the opening of my Etsy shop!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Visit from a Koala

James came in this morning to tell me there was a koala by the spa in the patio, so I jumped out of bed pretty quickly.
By the time I grabbed the camera it had climbed the tree just outside the study, then moved onto the large rainwater tank. We've had a few near the house in the 4 years we've been here, but none had hung around long enough for photos before today.
It spent most of the day like this:
(and no, it's not a eucalypt!)
Late this afternoon it was back in the patio again, but the presence of the dogs meant it climbed back up the tree fairly quickly.
It sat there happily for ages watching us less than a metre away, and happily let James pat it gently. Unfortunately the sun was starting to go down, so all the photos were either into the light, or a bit dark without flash.

The next photo is terrible, but it was taken through my study window, from where I sit at my sewing machine; it's sitting behind the branches:
This picture shows just how close it was all day; that's my machine in the foreground, and the tree in the centre was where it spent most of the day sleeping:
For those of you wondering, we're in the foothills of Adelaide; still in suburbia (20 minute drive from the city centre), but the blocks are large, with lots of big trees. There's a big National Park nearby, and quite a bit of native scrubland.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Starburst Revealed

Edit (August 2011): This quilt is currently for sale in my Etsy shop.

I have decided to reveal one of the quilts I've entered in the South Australian Quilt Guild's Festival of Quilts, which will be at the Craft and Quilt Fair from November 5-8. I finally joined the Guild last year, and this is one of my first entries. I had both entries valued last week, and was thrilled with the results.
Starburst came out of the Palm block. As shown here, I modified the original, which has 14 pieces, to make it much more complicated, and my version has 38 pieces!
I'd intended to make the quilt for a friend's baby, but the effort involved changed my ideas. Just removing the foundations from each and every block, with all the fiddly, narrow points, took about 25 minutes - yes each, and there are 16 of them. (Then I reasearched water soluble foundation sheets, and ordered in a large supply for 'next time'!) Each block is 9in (prior to the heavy quilting; they shrunk to about 8 5/8in) and the finished quilt is 50in square. The unit below is 4 blocks combined:
It took ages to quilt in the ditch around all the coloured parts - then even longer to do the Emmaing (McTavishing, see the link on the right for more information about this style of quilting) because I had my new machine on the 'wrong' FMQ setting, and the thread kept breaking.
I used almost entirely scraps for the brights, but did dip into my stash where I needed a certain colour for balance, especially for the larger pieces.
I stocked-up on lots of this gorgeous rainbow stripe, and it was perfect for part of the border.

Emmaing around all those points was awkward, but in the plain border is where it really sings.
This shows some of the quilting texture across the quilt:
And from the back:
Thanks for coming, especially those of you who are new to my blog. I'd love to hear from you, and will try to visit your blogs as well. Have a look around, I hope you'll be back! I've just gone through the long process of making the lists of my quilts on the right into links, so it should easy if you want to look at them.

Now pop over to Amy's blog and check out the other quilts in this Blogger's Quilt Festival. Be warned - it'll take a while!

I'll be having a giveaway here next weekend.

Links to my quilts added

I have finally gone through the lists of completed quilts on the right and changed them to links!

Each link will take you to the main entry about that quilt, and most have a selection of full and detail photos of the finished quilt. Some also have links to in-progress entries, but if they don't, browse through the recent 'older posts', and you'll likely find some anyway (I'll try and get better at adding links!). I noticed on going through my posts and the lists, that some quilts don't have full posts, and eventually I'll remedy that - there are a few I hadn't realised I'd missed! Therefore, sometimes the link is to a more generic, in-progress or peek entry, but they do allow you to see either a single photo of the finished quilt, or as much as I'm showing at this point. I'll try and keep them current. For now, the lists only really cover since I started blogging in mid 2007, but there are a couple of links under 2007 to older quilts which I've featured in separate entries, and I'll eventually add to this as well.

You can also follow the link to my Flickr photostream on the right, where there should be at least one photo of every quilt I've made; except perhaps for the most recent, and a few yet to be revealed.

DQS7 Quilt sent

At last, here are the 'good' photos of Out of Season, the quilt I made for the seventh round of the Flickr Doll Quilt Swap for Nicole at Craftapalooza, which coincidentally, she just happened to blog today! I won't go into too much description, as I've done that before, and will leave you with photo-overload instead!
The whole design was inspired by Nicole's love of apples.
Quilting detail:
I hadn't intended to use this fabric for the apples, but when I cut a sample one to play with shape and placement, the shading was completely perfect, and I didn't have a choice!
From the back:
I've been choosing fabric for more wintry trees tonight.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Owl quilt

I figured Nocturnal was a good name for this quilt, since it captures the nature of both the Owls and my quilting!
I off-set the owls in a simple background, but to give the final quilt a bit more zing, I added a pale cream starry flange to the binding. Fiddly but effective.
These photos in our lovely early afternoon sun show the quilting really well, from both the front and the back. I quilted in the ditch around each owl and the branch it sits upon, then Emmaed the background, which has left the owls almost 3-dimensional; see the last photo, taken from the side, to get an idea. The backing is actially a solid black.
Here are each of the owls in detail.
Only the cream neck and belly are the same on each owl, the rest of the fabrics are all different.
The eyes were embroidered with the full 6 strands of DMC thread - three strands doubled through the needle so it wasn't too hard to pull through the pieced owl.
Here's one from the side to show how it appears quite dimensional against the heavily quilted background.
Nocturnal will also be heading into my Etsy store in the coming weeks.