A retreat of my own

Both Margaret and Irene are at different quilt guild retreats this weekend, but I have virtuously stayed home to work.  Just as well Irene’s retreat was up here at Castlemaine, giving us the chance to meet up for lunch and a chat before she went back to sew and I went back to work. Well maybe I played hookey from the computer and I’ve been doing a little quiltmaking instead.  Shush don’t tell. I’m supposed to be working, really!

So while both of them are having lovely eats, going out wining & dining, I decided so would I.  Here’s my dinner, leftover garlic pizza.

Not the same really is it?

Actually I’ve really enjoyed being at home by myself.  I very rarely get the chance to be in the house by myself and never in the evenings, so lovely and peaceful. Anyway I’m busy trying to finish this quilt.

image of sunflowers & willowsI’ve only got the border to do so this week I joined up some strips of scrappy fabrics and tacked them down almost like a frame, ready to applique into scallop shapes.

Tracing the applique line with my rough template

So tonight I’ve marked the scallops with the template I made up and now it’s time to start with the needle-turning. If you click on the image you’ll get a better view and see the scallop edge to be.

A close-up, sorry about the blurry photo

It’s so close to being finished so I’ve been good and put down the new quilt I’ve been making, to finish this one.  I showed a snippet of this new quilt in my last post.  Anyway time for bed, as I really do have to get some work done tomorrow.

Paper piecing stars

image of august-september fabrics

I briefly returned from blogging retirement, as Linda called it, and then didn’t find time to do much of anything sewing or blogging wise.  After my weekend away at Sorrento, I didn’t sew a stitch, I didn’t even get to thread a needle for about two weeks.  My own fault really, as while down at Sorrento I said ‘hey Linda what about quilt pins?’  If you’ve been following Linda’s blog you’ll see what we’ve come up with and I’m looking forward to seeing them in the flesh so to speak.

I’ve been very restrained in buying fabric recently as I’m supposed to be saving to go to Houston in about 4 weeks.  On my way to Sorrento I stopped in at Somerset Patchwork and picked up a few necessary fabrics for my new project based, very loosely, on an old Pennsylvania quilt.  It has a paper pieced star in the centre, which was quite the challenge as I don’t normally do paper-piecing, even though it seems to be all the rage at the moment.  I’m not terribly fond of paper-piecing but Irene convinced me to do that rather than tradition piecing and I am very happy with the result.  I’ll show a proper picture when I’ve got a little more done, and I am having fun with this one as I let the quilt evolve.  I do know I’m going to have a star in each corner of the centre medallion.

image of august-september fabrics
My August September fabric buys.

The fabrics on the right are mostly for this project although I couldn’t resist those lovely greens from the Pomegranate range for my stash. I’m building up my poison greens as I’ve another red & green applique quilt already drawn up.  Those fabrics on the left are just impulse buys but really I was very restrained.

What’s left of September and October is fairly action packed so I best get a move on and get back to work as I’ve lots to do and time is running out.


Finally a design wall

Up until this afternoon I’ve never had a design wall.  So for me it was laying everything down on the ground, getting my little step stool, isn’t Ikea great? and taking a photo to get some perspective on what I’m doing.

image of charlie on stool
Charlie demonstrating the Ikea Stool use. All my cats love it!

What I wanted in a design wall was something I could easily organise myself, so off to Spotlight, a fabric & homewares store here in Australia, I went, thinking I’d grab some cheap synthetic batting, but I was lucky enough to be served by the lovely Annabel, who sometimes helps out at our local quilt shop.

After explaining to Annabel what I was considering she soon put me on the right track by suggesting using polar fleece, it’s was exactly the right width and all up cost six dollars rather than $$$ that I was likely to spend on the batting available.  But the best thing is the blocks just stick to it.  I’ve already trialled it and if I want to put a quilt top up it copes with pins just fine, much better than the batting would have, much more durable because its a knitted fabric, and if it gets dirty I can just put it through the wash.  Its been hemmed and put on its rod which is hung from the picture rail.  I used this quilt to see how it would hold up.  Even when I took out the pins it didn’t fall off. 🙂

image of texas rose baskets quilt
I popped this up to try and motivate me to sew those last five seams! by machine no less.

Margaret & Irene have skyped me a few times over the last week when they’ve been able, apparently the wifi access hasn’t been very good, however they’ve been to the DAR, the Smithsonian and Winterthur so I expect when they get back they’ll do some proper blogging about the trip complete with photos, I know they’ve got lots to show & tell.  Margaret has updated her FB page once or twice and the intrepid travellers have only got just over a week before they’re due to fly back home.  Oops speak of the devil and there they are on skype again!

Okay that was Margaret and Irene, they’re just about to leave Wilmington.  They have had a car, Margaret reckons ‘the beltway’? in DC was easy, whatever that means.  Anyway the pair of them have asked me to jump on their respective blogs and do a guest post so now I’m off to Irene’s & Margaret’s blogs to write and post!

Okay it’s now 3.50am and I definitely need to go to bed, I can barely cope with my own blog never mind those two gadabouts.

And that was over a week ago and I never got back to my own blogpost!

Last Thursday I was able to go to Mill Rose Cottage for there Sit n Sew.  While there Gudren asked me what was in those earlier packages.

Thursday Sit n Sew
image of margokragerfabrics
Some lovely older Margo Krager fabrics


And some more vintage fabric, most of it is nearly 20 years old.

And while I was up in Bendigo getting the fabric for my design wall I also grabbed these.

I just love the colour and pattern of those top two fabrics.

And I’ve been busy on an old project as well

Started in 1995 maybe.

I’m going to put another small resting border and then who knows.

I best get a move on, time to do some work.



On the hunt for a new sewing machine

image of sunflower willow quilt

and I’m looking at the Husqvarna 835, which has the longer arm which would be nice. Does anyone have one?  The other machine I’m considering is the Bernina 330, which also has exactly the stitch I want, an adjustable, single, vertical stitch, blanket-stitch, and both machines are around the same price.  I’d love to hear your opinions on these machines.

It’s going to be very quiet around these parts with Margaret flying out to the US this morning.  I’ve sent our very good friend Irene Blanck, a local applique superstar in these parts, with her to keep her out trouble! 🙂

The girls are off to Paducah and then the east coast so if you get the chance to catch up with them grab it, they’re lots of fun!  Both Margaret & Irene are intending to blog, and Margaret is going to use her new Facebook page to keep us updated on their shenanigans as well.

I’m fast finishing a new quilt I’ve been doing, Sunflowers & Willows, most of the applique is done, and it’s almost time to attach the borders and then the last border appliqued on.  The last applique will be on the outside edge, scalloped, similar to the frills around the flowers just a bit bigger, not so fine.

I started this as a bit of an excuse to get rid of the fabrics I’ve used in the background and went from there.  It’s got at least two, no make that three, fabrics from Margaret’s stash.

image of sunflower willow quilt
I've called it Sunflowers & Willows.

I need to get it finished as I just busting to start another new quilt I’ve designed and have chosen nearly all the fabrics.  Remember my search for some gold fabric awhile ago? well I ended up with about 3 metres and here’s me doing a little planning.

image of lincoln gold fabric
Photocopying the fabric

Yes, sometimes I photocopy the fabric if I’m not sure of a combination or want to do a quick mockup without cutting into my precious fabric.

And I took another quilt out to try and get a half decent photo of it but little joy as my camera really doesn’t want to play nice.

image of rose dance quilt
Rose Dance on the grass

Well it’s time to go, Margaret has left me some homework, ie blocks from our Red & White version of her Maltaville, I’m not complaining, it was my idea after all!



A busy start . . .

to 2012.  The unseasonably cool weather we’ve been having in Victoria has enabled me to spend some time in my studio, and so far in the first 2 weeks I’ve sent 4 quilts off to Margaret to be quilted.

Now, they’re not exciting quilts, they’re what I call Utility quilts.  Quilts to use everyday, that can be thrown into the washing machine and thrown over a clothes horse, let the cats sit on, etc…

I’ll post some photos of them when I get them back.   I’ve also organised the binding for a quilt I finished back in July and just folded up and put in the cupboard.

image of mexican rose quilt
a rather crumpled quilt from being folded up for 6 months

It’s a lovely little quilt and when I took it off to Margaret to get quilted we noticed I’d left a petal off it so rather that take it home I said ‘just quilt it’ and so Margaret quilted in the lost petal.

image of mexican rose quilt
I just love that quilted petal

The quilted-in petal is in the top left.  I need to sew on 4 little red circles as well as think of a name for this quilt.

Next is my red & white star quilt, the one in the header.  I’ve finished the centre and attached the setting squares and triangles a little while ago.

image of red & white lonestar quilt
just a border to go

Yesterday I took it out again and decided I want to add a little border made up of the left over red diamonds cut into triangles.  I’ve already got the backing so I hope to get it finished by the end of the week and drop it off to Margaret.

Just about every quilt is at the machine piecing stage except for the borders of my Sunflowers & Willows quilt.  Here’s a look at one of the borders which still needs the frill around the circle to be done as well as the appliqued edge.  I’m sort of saving the applique for sewing under the air-conditioner when we finally get really hot weather, which we will!  February & March are always hot.

image of sunflowers & willows border
I'm missing my frilly bits!

Once I’ve got all these done I can start my new basket quilt in the Kaffe Fassett fabrics I bought back in December.  I’ve already cut out 16 baskets, prepped and ready to.

Well it’s time to stock up on some essential shopping and I leave you with a piccy of my very naughty cat, Charlie.

image of charlie the cat on the bench
I couldn't find a quilt to sleep on

What a year!

It’s hard to believe in just a few minutes it will be 2012.  This year has seen lots of changes for me and has just flown past.  I finally started working for myself a little more seriously in web development as well as in the quilt related area.  My youngest son left school, went to Chefs school, got a chefs apprenticeship and left home to live in the city.

Oh what bliss! I gloated to friends who still had children at home, and less than seven days later his big brother turned up at the door, “Mum, you know how you said, if I really needed to, I could come home?…”  and since then its been busier and louder than ever.  My eldest comes and goes, his friends and girlfriend are often here, there’s music blaring, the phone rings,  there’s dishes in the sink and smelly boy socks everywhere.  I sometimes think the boys might be playing tag as the eldest goes to his girlfriends in Melbourne and I come out to the computer room only to find the youngest has appeared on the couch sometime during the early hours of the morning.

I know none of you were in the house when I went to bed!

I popped down to the supermarket this afternoon, only to see said boy outside instead of miles away in Melbourne, ” Hi Ma, just up for a party, might pop in later!”  Everyone told me I’d miss my boys when they left, but its not me that misses them.

We missed you!

Since last I posted back in November I’ve had a birthday and Margaret & Katherine took me out for a lovely day of quilting and eating at Mill Rose in Ballan, I was spoilt, got lots of quilt related pressies and fabric.  Less than two weeks later it was back to Mill Rose, this time with Irene joining us, for a lovely Christmas morning tea hosted by Sue.

Back in about October I decided to do a quick scrap quilt using only fabrics in my stash.  I wanted to try and use fabrics I didn’t like but of course more and more fabrics that I do like went in to it.  I joined fabric pieces if I needed to and am really pleased with how it turned out.  And I only bought fabric for the backing.

Raiding the stash

here’s the fabric that I picked up on Thursday at Darn Cheap Fabric, only $4 a metre, which here in Austraia is super cheap, a Lecien fabric and they had bolts of it and I’m starting to wish I’d bought a bolt.

Quilt backing

while I was there I also picked up a little bit more fabric, my stash really does need those lighter coloured fabrics, but I was very restrained, as I had already been to 2 or 3 other shops before this.

A little more Lecien fabric & some pretty reds

On Thursday I was a woman on mission, I’ve designed another quilt and have decided that I want to do a version of it in bright, bold Kaffe Fassett fabrics so with nowhere around here to buy such fabrics it was off to Melbourne in search of fabrics to seriously challenge me.  When I was purchasing these fabrics at GJS Discount Fabrics I kept asking the ladies, who were very friendly and helpful, “Do these fabrics go together?  Are you sure?”  They just looked at me, and I said, “I’m a Repro Girl, I don’t know about these fabrics.”

For my new quilt design

This project will have to be a machine applique project if I want to get it done as I’ve now got so many things either on the go or ‘on the drawingboard’ that it just wont see the light of day.  And I’m being very good and not starting it till I’ve got all the prep done for my new Sunflowers & Willows quilt.  Here’s a quick peek at it.  It’s already past this stage, as I’ve got about 70% of the borders prepared and reading to hand sew.  This has gone together very quickly and I’ve used a new technique to get the frills on those flowers.

Sunflowers & Willows

This was another, ‘I just want to use up some of those taupes I’m not so fond of.’  The result, I had to buy more and now I really like them.  I naturally prefer plain backgrounds so this was once again me trying to challenge myself to broaden my design ideas.

Yesterday I cut out lots of assorted red dogtooths for my Texas Flower Basket quilt and laid them on the work table to get an idea if they worked, and I fairly happy with them, although there’s one I might remove.  However I left the door to my studio open and Charlie my cat, who seems to have a thing for any fabric with green leaves on it, was found laying on the quilt top with an expression I can only say is belligerent.

It's got green leaves so it's my quilt!

So have a happy and safe new year and see you on the other side.

Texas Rose Baskets

Awhile ago I started a quilt that I’ve slowly been working on.  Its taken awhile because I didn’t choose all my greens and red at the same time so it’s been a bit of a hunt to find greens and reds that work together.

About a month ago Margaret and I spent a lovely day at Mill Rose Cottage in Ballan where I found two greens and a red which I desperately needed and so I’ve manged to finish the centre blocks of this quilt and today have started the first row of dogtooth today.  I hadn’t attached to border yet as I was just checking I still liked it. Oh and I sneaked in a little bit of Smithsonian fabric!

image of texas rose basket dogtooth
First dogtooth border

Mill Rose is a fabulous new patchwork shop, with cafe attached, with the most friendly owner and staff you could hope to find.  Sue at Mill Rose has a sit and sew on Thursdays which if you live in Melbourne and have the opportunity you should definitely visit.

Oh and they have a lovely new blog courtesy of Lizzie, so just click the button below to visit, thru the red door.

thru the red door

Having said that I best go over and say hello myself, and then get back to sewing.  🙂


Just backing from ‘Unfolding Tradition’

the 2011 Australian Quilt Study Symposium hosted by Quilt Study Group Victoria and all I can say is Wow!

I travelled down from Castlemaine by train to ‘The Immigration Museum‘ where the two day symposium was held over the weekend.  I quickly lined up to sign in with many ladies and a gentleman or two, who had travelled from Queensland, NSW, WA and TAS as well as local attendees.

My fabric from the AQSG Symposium Luck Dip

The day started with an introduction and welcome by Janet O’Dell, Convenor, Quilt Study Group Victoria.  Janet spoke about a fabulous hexagon quilt from her collection which she refers to as the ‘The Braddyll Quilt’, but was originally called a ‘GRANDMOTHER’S FLOWER GARDEN’ QUILT‘ by Christies when it was listed for auction.  I was able to spend quite some time having a close look at this amazing quilt.  This quilt was made from many beautiful velvets and silks, which when examined closely showed tiny embroidered flowers on many of the centres.

This was followed by Margaret Rolfe stepping in for Dr Annette Gero, who was unable to attend at the last minute.  As part of the Annette Gero presentation several participants of the ‘Fabric of Society’ challenge brought along their quilts for us to get up close and look at.  Dear Prudence by Linda White was one.

After lunch Margaret Rolfe spoke about an applique quilt of Irish origin held in the NGV, as well as similar Irish quilts of the time and their common elements.

Lynette Nilaweera formerly from ‘The Wool Quilt Prize & Geelong Wool Museum’ spoke about her experiences curating the Prize.

Brownwyn Cosgrove, a senior textile conservator from the NGV spoke about and show a presentation on the conservation process they went through for ‘The 1840s Dickens Quilt’.

image of dickens conservation cleaning
Cleaning the E Dickens quilt

and that was just day one.

Day Two was were we actually got to get up and personal with some quilts.  Alan Tremain presented a range of quilts which he was happy for us the examine and photograph.

Alan Tremain quilt

and a beautiful lone star quilt

image of at1930onestar
1930s Lonestar quilt

and another

8 pointed star
image of at lemoyne starclose up
a close up of one of the blocks
image of at 1930 sunbonnet
How bright are these colours?

and a closeup of one of the blocks, the fabrics that were put together left some of us speechless

image of at 1930 sunbonnet closeup 1
a close up of one of the blocks

and a closeup of another block

image of at 1930 sunbonnet closeup 2
and another

one more

image of at 1930 sunbonnet closeup 3
the colours were just so bright and clear in these blocks

the next block was from a sweet redwork quilt

Redwork chickens

the next image is of some pre-printed cushion embroidery squares.  Alan spoke about how often before these patterns were printed in the newspapers, the male image artists would go over the designs putting in intricate detail that no embroiderer would actually put in their designs.

image of at red and white cushions
Looking at the redwork cushions sitting atop another gorgeous quilt

the above quilt, when examined closely was pieced from small diamonds.  Here’s a closeup

Close up of the piecing

and some machine foundation piecing circa 1916, maybe or at least that was a date we found on the paper.

Foundation piecing

and the back

Foundation piecing

I still have lots more to cover but I think its time to go and do some work so I’ll try an do another post in a day or two.


Maltaville Album Quilt fabric shopping

Last year I said that 2011 was the year I’d start to explore modern quilts & fabrics and so I’ve started.  Two weeks ago Margaret and I went on a little shopping trip to the city and visited Amitie, a quilt shop in Bentleigh, Melbourne.  Amitie have a lovely selection of modern fabrics, glorious Liberty Art Prints as well as Kaffe Fassett fabrics and a sprinkling of repros, we even found a tiny scrap of Smithsonian Rising Sun fabric.

But I was on a mission to find modern fabrics for my Maltaville blocks.  I jokingly said to Margaret a little while back that I’d do the Maltaville in modern fabrics and the idea stuck.  I’m really interested in exploring some of the modern style of quilts in reproduction fabrics and this is an extension of that exploration.  Many of you will be aware of the Civil War Bride quilt by Corliss Searcey and I’ve seen a few of these quilts in all sorts of fabrics which has contributed to me going down this path.  I’m certainly not abandoning reproduction quilts and fabrics, just spreading my wings.

Anyway below are a few photos of the fabrics I’ve picked up on our trip as well as the first block of the Maltaville I’ve completed.

image of fabrics for maltaville quilt
My Maltaville fabrics so far...

This is the first block I’ve finished, in fabrics selected at AQC in April from the Ballarat Patchwork stand and I’ve started on the Oak Leaf & Reel block, featuring the dark green fabric as well as the last red fabric on the right.

image of a maltaville quilt block
Maltaville Album block

I’ve had very little time this year for quilting, blogging and blog reading but that’s changing so I’m looking forward to a very productive year, I hope.



Nearing the end of Quiltober

Last night I attended the opening of our Goldfield Quilters Exhibition which was a lot of fun.  I’ve only recently joined so it was a first for me.  The standard of quilts was extremely high and all the winners of the categories happened to be in the 4-10 quilting group that I’m part of at my LQS, Threadbear, in Castlemaine.

Rachel, who makes the most divine cakes and desserts for our group, won the ‘First time exhibitor’ award for her star quilt.  Once again I had no camera, but I’m sure she’ll put up a photo of her quilt.  Her quilt is just eye-catching, a simple and elegant star quilt.  And Margaret, did a beautiful job quilting it.

In getting ready for the exhibition I needed to frequently go to quilt shops and my purse is starting to look lean because of it.  Perhaps I should rename this month ‘The month of buying too much fabric’.

I’ve picked up some more Smithsonian fabric to fill some gaps in my collection, and I’ll eventually blog about those fabrics.  Some repros of the Smithsonian’s that I’ve mentioned previously.

While looking for the printable fabric for my labels I ended up buying fabric I didn’t need but absolutely had to have.  I console myself with the fact that some of it was half-price.

I just had to have these

The second and third fabrics are my favourite.  The second fabric with its touches of indigo and mustard is just divine and the third fabric is inciting me to go online to see if it came in any other colour-ways.  I confess to being a fabricaholic.  If you can identify any of the fabrics that I’ve marked ‘Unidentified’ please leave a comment

At the same time I picked up this next fabric, a stripey serpentine print, in a crimson, blue and winey brown colour.  I have no plans for it yet but just had to have it.

Collections for a Cause - Alliance

It’s been such a busy month that Margaret and I haven’t found any time to attend to our new collaboration, What fabric is that, but we’re hoping next weekend we can get back to it.  It’s a bit like a new child we’ve abandoned, but not for too much longer!

Lastly, remember to visit Quilts in the Barn to check out the photos of last weeks exhibition as Linda is updating regularly and take a copy of the ‘Quilters around the world Supporting Breast Cancer’ button to put on your blog.

Quilters around the world Supporting Breast Cancer