Wednesday, 31 March 2010


I'm still working (or not!) on quilting the wedding quilt, so still have no real progress to show, and I am staying strong about not starting on anything else until that's done. Well. Sort of. I've been spending rather a lot of time procrastinating by designing quilts instead! I've just finished refining the pattern for Eleanor's bed quilt:
It uses Patty Young's Flora & Fauna range, in the raspberry and stone colourways I love. And I've just this minute (as I've been typing) realised it will clash horribly with her wall quilt!
And this will be the matching teddy quilt; she already has one, but that's a bit small (and a second will never go astray!), and I love the idea of it matching hers.
This doll quilt may look familiar, as Iced Chocolate (the winter swap quilt I recently made) evolved from this design.

I'm now torn about making this quilt for Eleanor's room, but I love both of the designs and the fabrics...

I'll need to get on with these in the coming months, as sometime after August, there'll be a new resident in Eleanor's cot - I'll hopefully find out in a week whether it will be a new niece or nephew! (And then I'll be able to start designing a baby's quilt with the elephant fabrics I've been collecting for just this purpose.)

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Some older quilts

I'm still working on quilting the queen-size quilt, and it doesn't look much different, although I have finally finished the now-hated double-stipple, and am fmq-ditching the stars. So I thought I'd show you some more of my quilts which weren't fully blogged at the time. This is a series of four square play quilts made for a friend's four children at Chrismas 2007. You can see all four together here.

Up first is Sun, Sand & Sea.
I designed this one to use the four corner blocks I'd originally made for another project, then changed my mind.
If I were making this now, I'd add a lot more quilting - although admittedly I was in a huge rush to get them finished and sent to arrive in time for Christmas!
You can see below how I labelled all of my quilts at this point; hand-embroidering ym initials and the year into the binding with DMC floss. That changed shortly after, and I now print a label for almost every quilt with the following information: quilt name, any personal or quilt details, such as a baby's name and birth date, fibre content of the inner and outer and care instructions. I also identify myself as the maker and designer and inlcude the year and my location. Some quilts require my full name, address and phone number - if they're for exhibition or publication in a magazine. I often include a message either from myself or the person commissioning the piece.

Next up is Cabins in Queensland - the name reflects the quilts' destination.
This quilt used some of the bright log cabin blocks I made using strips swapped with other EB Quilters.
I later used more of the same blocks in a reversed setting (i.e. I started with the hot colours in the centre)  for a friend's baby.
This was also very simply quilted; in the ditch between blocks and around the red centres.
I think I still have a few of these blocks left over!

The third of these quilts is Butterfly Carnival.
I really wanted to feature the fun butterfly print, and chose the basic red, white and black to give it a dramatic look.
The pinwheel blocks add to the movement. I really like the effect gained by fussy-cutting the black and white print for the centre block below.
And I love the bold striped border! I rememeebr not having time to go and get a larger piece for the backing, so added a couple of borders to the main piece of white, which led to the challenge of placing and positioning the backing accurately. I did an ok job!

The final quilt is my favourite. I love the colour combination in Blueberry & Lime.
This is another of my medallion-style quilts where the pattern is created by different colouring of the patches in the blocks, although it is simpler than most of my others (e.g. Eleanor's Quilt, Evening Indulgence and Daydreams).
My favourite thing about these quilts? When the owners visited us sometime later, out came the quilts (brought all the way from Queensalnd) for the babies to play on, and I could see they had been both well-used and well cared-for. Exactly what I like to see!
I was really pleased with the effect of this quilting on the back - but looking at it now, it's awfully plain and simple! I did very little more than quilt in-the-ditch, and no free-motion work at all!
It's amazing to think this was only a couple of years ago. I wonder what I'll think of my current quilts by 2012?!

Sunday, 21 March 2010


At about 2.30 in the afternoon for about half an hour, sunlight hit the louvred window in the holiday house at just the right angle to delight a 2 year old!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Out of James' mouth

The context; trying to explain where England is:

D: ".....well, do you know where the Queen lives?"
James (puzzled): "The Queen lives on the water."
D: startled silence
James: (as though speaking to a child): "Well, it's a boat."
Me: "Ah, my parents took James and Eleanor to see the Queen Mary 2 while she was docked in Adelaide on Thursday!"


Having finished packing etc at 2am on the Thursday night, I abandoned the quilt. We had to be up bty 4.30 for our flight, and there were still several hours of quilting left before I could even start to attach the binding by machine, and I figured 2 hours sleep was better than none.

This means I'll be able to spend some time giving the stars the attention they deserve while quilting. I do regret my choice of filler; I don't really like the effect on this quilt, it's frustrating and slow to sew, and even though I chose it as a 'quick' option without being a plain stipple, it wasn't quick, and a plain stipple would have looked better/ I need to overcome my stubbornness sometimes!

This post will have to be photo-free, since I've not downloaded my photos onto this computer - I'm borrowing my father-in-law's in a peaceful house after everyone else has long gone to bed - and its only 10pm! There'll be a flurry of photos once we're home and they're sorted.

We had a lovely time at the wedding, and I'm looking forward to catching up with some online friends in and around Perth in the next few days.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010


Here's a quick image from the back of the quilt of my double-stipple for the curious.
The pairs of lines are about 3/16in apart, to give an idea of scale. I simply sew a medium-scale stipple, then loop back 3/16in next to the original line. I do a bit at a time, and you can see here where I've branched-off to do the next section as well. As long as you're careful to loop back on the right side, it's pretty easy. Now, I'd better get back to it!

Procrastinating again

It took me ages just to sandwich this quilt today, and I didn;t start quilting it until tonight. So far it's about 1/4 done - that's just the background. I decided on a double-stipple, which is reasonably fast, and definitely more interesting than a stipple, but still takes more than twice as long. I know, I should be sewing not blogging, but I've just emptied two bobbins and need a break.
This is as I was playing around with the layout - on the dining room floor; the only place big enough - the blocks are 8in, and it's a 10x10 layout. I did make a few adjustments after this - and cut the remaining plain block!
Border-wise, there's just a 1in cream border to match the background, and a 2.5in black and gold border. I'll bind it in red - though I'm missing my preferred fabric choice and will probably have to use my second choice which is easily to hand. I anticipate doing the hand stitching on the binding and attaching the label (all ready) once we're there - but I can't (realistically) take the machine with me on the plane!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Wedding quilt panic

Here's a little peek at what I've been working on this week. My sister in law is getting married on Saturday, and this has to be a completed queen-size quilt before then! I have been working on the blocks for a while. Each star has 24 pieces, and in this photo are the 3 x 8in stars, 8 x 6in stars and 20 x 2in stars. There are also 25 x 3in stars and 20 x 4in stars. They took a long time, and I'm sick of them!
The top is now pieced, and I just have a couple more border strips to attach before sandwiching. I think I'm just going to have to stipple this one, and maybe ditch the larger stars afterwards if I have any time!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Feathered Flake

I'm finally posting some completed photos of my first wholecloth quilt. I did post about the bulk of it back here - ages ago! It's hard to photograph pure black, so I've played with these images in Photoshop to get them as true as possible. Click on any for a larger, more detailed, image.
Consider this procrastination. I really should be working on my sister-in-law's wedding quilt, which I have under a week to finish, but I'm getting sick of it. The design uses about 80 stars, each consisting of 24 pieces. I've made 20 each of the 2in (completed size) and 4in stars, and a handful of 6in and 8in stars, and anm about halfway through a mountain of 3in stars. Fortunately then it's 'just' a matter of laying the stars out, cutting plain background blocks and filler-patches, and putting the lot together - which would be easy if I had a king-size design board!
I loved making this quilt (and the end result) which is why I have several more on the go. I had to put them aside waiting for the right threads, and now I daren't touch them until the wedding quilt is done, but I can't wait to get back to them. I think one of them is likely to go in my Etsy shop when it's finished.
I posted this one to it's new owner last week, and will probably make another version in white on black at some point (commissions welcome).
I love the way quilts tend to evolve as they're made; I'd had no intention of using two colours, or making this one reversible.
In the end, I used what started as the back as the main side, and labelled it by embroidering my initials and the year into the hanging sleeve. The hainging sleeve is the same fabric as the binding, and I didn't sew it down at the bottom, so that when hanging it folds back up and whichever way it is, it covers (at most) the binding, and is quite unobtrusive.
While the design is symmetrical, you can see that in the excution, there is plenty of variation which only becomes apparent on close inspection.
Real snow crystals (what we usually call flakes) are the same; symmetrical to the naked eye, but imperfect upon detailed magnification.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Rory's Rockets published

I was thrilled to get my copy of Australian Patchwork and Quilting Vol 18 No 12 today, because appearing on page 96 is Rory's Rockets! Of course, the first thing I noticed is that the quilt is upside down, but that won't make any difference to the instructions.
It's a beautiful single-bed quilt I designed and made on commmission for a little boy's first big bed, which he's about to move into.

(the right way up:)
I blogged plenty of photos of Rory's Rockets after I finished it back here - before I knew it was going to the magazine. In fact, I didn't know about that until after I'd sent it to it's owner, and she very graciously agreed to lend it back for photography, since the little boy was still in his cot. I hope he's enjoying his quilt now!

Thursday, 4 March 2010


James started kindergarten a month ago. I did take photos by the front door on his first morning (in a very big rush!) but never got around to blogging them.
Yesterday was Family Funtastics Day, in which all the children do an obstacle course around the playground and gardens. They get sponsored for completing each stage, with the funds going towards a rainwater tank for the kindy. Last year's funds went towards the mobility track (a rubberised track seen partly in the photo below which the children run and ride around) with the balance funded by the council.
The city Major was there for the official opening of the track, and presented the children with medals for completing the obstacle course. Having been watching the Winter Olympics, James knew all about medals (although a staggeringly high proportion of the children claim to have come 'first'!).
Families were of course invited along, so my parents came, as did Eleanor. Her favourite part of the course was putting pink, blue, yellow and green balls into matching tubes taped to the 'fort'. She wasn't quite tall enough, and Daddy spent a lot of time lifting her up.
James loves kindergarten. He's there from 9 to 3 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and it completely exhausts him. When I bring him home he has a second afternoon tea and tells me what he's done, then has a sleep. Usually a THREE HOUR sleep! We got his first mid-term report yesterday. It's really just a short summary, and as we expected, it tells us he's settling in well. Neither of us were surprised to read that "He loves a cuddle from time to time and is eager to share his current thoughts with his teachers..."!!! They also mentioned he happily joins the group and responds to teacher direction, has adapted to the routines, is developing relationships and shows great enjoyment of the kindregarten learning environment.

Snow Dance

Here are some photos of Snow Dance complete with its binding before I posted it on its long journey north-east. I have already blogged a number of photos here, but couldn't resist a few more!
The binding stripe was a fabric from my stash which has exactly the right colours.
A few more gratuitous Emming detail photos...
I thought I'd got my desperate need to do more Emming out of my system, but now I've got it flowing so much better, I'm ready to do more. LOTS more!
Unfortunately my next project is a queen-size wedding quilt for my sister-in-law, which has to be finished before next weekend, and I don't think I'll have time to Emm the background of that one, but once that's out of the way...

Winter Wonderland Received

Yesterday I received my quilt from the Quilting Gallery's winter swap. It's just perfect. Although this was a secret swap, we did receive our recipent's email address, enabling us to contact them if we wished. I didn't, but Kathy, who was making for me, did; it was a lovely surprise! She warned me there were photos of my quilt on her blog, so I didn't look... but I confess that I was chatting with Adds on MSN at the time the email arrived, and I sent the link to her for a nosy - and she promised I'd love it. Adds - you were right!
I love the way everyone has a slightly different image of winter. Just like I wouldn't normally have thought to use pink and brown in my wintry quilt, I would never have thought to include these summery, citrussy colours, yet they really complete the quilt. The border makes me think of candy-canes, and with the ginger-bread-y houses gives it a bit of a Christmassy/North Pole feel.
Of course, anything with snowflakes is bound to be an instant favourite, and Kathy has added a generous sprinkling.
I know all too well how long it takes to do the fiddly applique along all the short sides, and she's outline quilted them in detail, too. The rest of the background is cleverly quilted in swirls whcich match the batik print.
I don't know if it was Kathy's intention, but the quilted lines down the snow-capped mountain from the houses look like ski tracks to me.
While summer might be officially over, and we're currently experiencing some lovely days in the mid-high 20s, we can be fairly confident of some more hot weather through March. This quilt will help me think of our planned skiing holiday and keep cool until winter arrives for its brief visit.
Thank you again, Kathy! I love my new quilt!