Oops! I accidentally started a new quilt

image of bearclaw working

I don’t know how it happened really, but yesterday I started a new quilt I had no intention of making yet!  When I’m working at my computer I always have a scrapbook or graph pad next to me so I can doodle or sketch ideas as they pop in my head.  Sometimes I look at previous ideas which makes me jump up and go over to my fabrics.  I’m wholly at the mercy of both the doodle and my fabric.

image of bearclaw working
About 5-6 years ago I had a thing for those style of blocks as you can see

The plain red fabric I’m using I’ve had for maybe 17 years.  It’s very stiff, just like when you pick up a really old piece of Marcus Bros or Concord fabric out of your stash.  I had about a metre and a half left from an earlier project and have really designed the quilt around what I could cut from it.  I had to be able to get the setting squares and claws out of it.

image of bearclaw quilt
20 blocks done in one night! Only 28 left to go.

I’m one of those unfortunates that doesn’t have EQ anything so I draft up patterns the old-fashioned way, or use Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop and then utilise various online calculators to help me such as:

Quilt Yardage Calculator – http://vrya.net/quilt/classic.php

and another is from

Quilters Paradise – http://www.quiltersparadiseesc.com/Calculators.php

The quilt will be on point as you can see, and I’ve decide it will be 7 x 7.  I really didn’t need another half done project cluttering up my studio/office.  Now if only the weather would cool down again I could get it finished.  Today was 35C with a hot northerly wind which where we live is bushfire weather.  I’m really envying those of you in the northern hemisphere right now.  Here’s looking forward to Tuesday.


Fabric found! Thank-you

to everyone who chimed in to help find this fabric.  I’ve got a few metres on order now.  While I probably only need a metre or two, I’ve decided to get four, as well as some other treats.  Unfortunately for my purse, it was an Australian store so that meant Australian dollars, more expensive than US even on special, but I do try to buy from local patchwork stores and only buy O/S if I can’t get it locally.

I’m busy finally finishing off the dogtooth borders of my basket quilt.  I started them ages ago, had 2 and half done and then just stopped.  I blame the weather, we did have a few warm days.  I’ve used the freezer-paper foundation method so while they are very accurate they certainly take longer to do.  So today I’m going to finish them no matter what and then it’s back to the office to do some maintenance on a few websites, as well as start another site for a new client.  That will mean no sewing during the day and no blogging or quilt blog reading!

image of dogtooth border
Freezer-paper foundation dogtooth border

Well back to the ironing board as it were.

For Dorothy & Linda

Last Saturday I caught up with Dorothy & Linda for a coffee after CAG, and was roundly scolded for not having posted recently.  While I had many excuses they all fell on deaf ears!

As a web developer and trainer sometimes the last thing I want to do on ‘my time’ is be at the computer.  And sadly, at the moment I don’t have have much to show as I’m busy putting on and sewing binding down.

But, I have been adding to my stash as well as adding to my museum collection fabrics.  I’ve picked up some Smithsonian I didn’t have or didn’t have much of.

image of smithsonian fabrics
More Smithsonian fabrics as well as some friends came to stay

I also picked up some DAR Museum Collection by P&B Textiles from 1998.

image of dar fabric
These have been on the shelves for some 14 or more years!

Some fabrics I failed to buy when they originally came out that I picked up recently.

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Bits & pieces

For interest, that last brownish piece of fabric was originally produced by Windham in their ‘Empress’ range by Nancy Gere, not sure which year.  It came in pink, blue and this olive/khaki/drab green colour. Note the difference in the background.  Empress had fine line grounds on a ecru background, whereas the ‘Canterbury’ range by Robert Callaham above, was much deeper & richer in colour with a smoked or mottled background. I have some of it in green, limey/yellow and now brown which will be perfect for stems in some future project.

image of Empress 24458-3 by Nancy Gere for Windham
Empress 24458-3 by Nancy Gere for Windham

And last but not least I picked up this tiny bit of floral fabric which I just love and would be perfect for a new design I’m keen to start, after I start & finish those Kaffe Baskets I’ve already cut out.

image of cheddarfloralfabric
Who am I? Where did I come from?

Do you know who the manufacturer or the name of this fabric?  If you do please let me know.  I’m really keen to find more.

And last but not least a message to Dorothy & Linda from Tigger.

image of cat
I heard about you two and your heretical ideas, and I'm not having any of it!

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.

It’s never too late . . .

to turn a quilt top into a quilt.  Until a top is quilted, it’s just a top.  The other day I picked up my very first, rotary cut, machine pieced quilt top from Margaret.  It’s journey had spanned 17+ years, and too many homes to count as a top.

A few weeks ago I found it in a scrunched up ball sitting in a small paper waste bin and decided it was time to give it a purpose.

image of house quilt front
House quilt

That’s my eldest son, now 20+, holding up the quilt for me to take a quick piccy, and he used to use this top as part of his cubby building in the lounge.

So what to back it with?  I knew I wasn’t going to spend money buying backing fabric, so I dug out some fabrics I had decided to donate and pieced them into a backing.

When Margaret saw the backing, well, words failed her!  The back is made from fabric that nowadays I wouldn’t buy in a pink fit.  The scary thing was I had enough to actually make a backing.

image of house quilt back
Well so much for me being a Repro Girl!

But looking at the front of the quilt is fun.  I loved those Red Wagon Plaids, and recently used some to piece some Ohio Stars for my Chilli & Chocolate quilt.  This quilt is a little bit of a quilt fabric history tour of the mid 1990s.

So I’ll make a label with the quilts story, attach it and bind the quilt in a nice red I think.  And thankyou Margaret for quilting it and turning it into an actual quilt.


ps WordPress just told me this is my 50th post!

Dogtooth borders

Just a quick post.  I’ve been working on the inner dogtooth borders for my Texas Rose Baskets quilt.  I just got my son to hold it up so I could see it from a distance and I liking what I see.  Hopefully I will get to finish the last green dogtooth border on tomorrow.  Sorry about the shadows.  Now time to get to work for me.

Inner dogtooth borders



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.


Spring catchup

Life has been a bit busy of late, with lots of quilting adventures.  So what have I been up to since last I posted you ask?

Well I ran up some very simple blocks for a simple quilt but am yet to find Kona Expresso (a very dark brown) anywhere and of course that and only that is what I want for my setting squares & triangles.

image of chilli & chocolate stars
Blocks for my Chilli & Chocolate Stars

The first flowers of spring Down Under have bloomed, you’ve seen them on other blogs, however I have a lovely Daphne bush at the front steps that just fills the house with its heavenly scent. Charlie the cat seemed quite happy about the advent of spring.

image of cat and daphne bush
Charlie's favourite place to be when it blooms

I finally finished a few of my Maltaville blocks.

image of Some of my maltaville blocks
A few of my Maltaville blocks

I attended CAG and that was as always lots of fun with gorgeous quilts to see and inspiring quilters to catchup with.  The quilt below is by Chris Serong who is an amazing quilter, designer and teacher.  Even the borders are made up of hexagons.

Chris Serong hexagon quilt
Amazing hexagon quilt by Chris Serong

Margaret and I went to Melbourne for a day trip and while we were there we stopped at the Arts Centre.  Looking around the city at night gave me a renewed appreciation for Melbourne, which is currently holding the title of  “Worlds Most Liveable City”.

image of Victorian Arts Centre
Victorian Arts Centre

On the ReproFabricLovers Yahoo list there was a discussion by some of us Aussies about the long time it takes for some items to arrive and this image below certaintly tells me why my fabric took five weeks to arrive.

By way of Sweden?

Sweden  I’m fairly certain isn’t really on the way to Australia from the US but hey maybe Geography has changed since I was at school.

Then came QITB and meeting up with some of the ReproFabricLovers girls, see the group photo on Linda’s blog, and many of the CAG ladies, as well as meeting the lovely Jo Morton & Russ.  We lunched with Maureen and Kirsten in Castlemaine a few days later.  QITB is always so much fun, thank-you Linda and crew, and I beat Margaret in finding some Smithsonian fabric in one of Jo’s older quilts.

image of quilt
a little Smithsonian fabric

We spent hours at QITB which really gave me plenty of time to really look at the quilts properly.  Often I find these events are so full of beautiful quilts, meeting new people and catching up with old friends that really getting to spend time looking at the quilts can almost become lost.  Not this time and every-time I looked at a quilt I saw something new and inspiring.

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Beautiful detail in one of Jo's quilts

I really loved the colouring in this quilt.

image Jos-flying-geese
Beautiful colouring in this quilt

and last but not least this gorgeous little snowball quilt.  I’ve never really liked the snowball block but just loved it in this size.

image of jos-snowballs
Inspiring little snowball quilt by Jo Morton

My next post will undoubtedly be about my adventures in tea dyeing!  I promise my next post wont be far away!