Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Very Important Date

Not one to do things in a methodical structured fashion, I find myself frantically hand quilting to a deadline.

November 30th, 2014 to be precise.

On a quilt that I've been making since 2004 (possibly).  It's been so long in gestation that I've forgotten when it was conceived.  Only two more borders,  81" and 92".  That's 173" X 6.5" more to go!!

You may not be able to see the pattern easily on the picture above.  That is very likely because you cannot see the pattern very easily on the quilt either.  In my earlier quilting days, I was unaware that the complex patterned fabric I chose for the border would obscure the quilting pattern.

It's a double baptist fan pattern.  Not a single, a DOUBLE.  That may explain why it has taken so long to finish the quilt.  But the other, correct reason is that knowing that the very intense quilting wouldn't really be seen produced a quandary.  After having quilted one border the dilemma was:  

do I undo the quilting and start again with a simpler, more expedient pattern?
do I just keep going to the bitter end? 

After much hand wringing and just ten years you can see what I decided.  After all that work, I just couldn't undo it, so now I find myself on a deadline.  Which is where you came in.  More later.  Right now,  I'm back to quilting.                                                          

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Rip Van Winkle

Well, that was a good break.

No, I haven't packed up my quilting gear and gone home.  I'm still playing.    Here is my version of Bonnie Hunter's 2013 mystery quilt "Celtic Solstice".  Not yet quilted.

 I know I'm not the only one who has gone AWOL.  While I was away I kept an eye on blogworld;  I just didn't feel like socialising much.  But now I do and I hope you'll forgive the long absence and come back and visit me.

Most of my quilting time has been taken up finishing old projects:

My 3" tumbler quilt.  I used my domestic sewing machine to quilt it myself.  Nothing too ambitious, just outline quilting.

The back of my quilt is interesting.  I had a few left over tumblers so I thought I'd use them up instead of just throwing them into a shoebox along with some other orphan blocks.

Lining them up with the tumblers on the front of the quilt proved beyond me.  But I still like the back.

And of course, there have been some starts too.  The quilt below is for my cousin's first grandson, Finlay.  I'll be visiting family in Yorkshire and Northumberland soon.

I am still financially supporting the fabric manufacturers and the shops.  And a few publishing houses as well. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Finishing Off

Classes are always good fun.  I've never been to a class that I haven't learnt something.  Usually I learn a lot and every so often I get highly motivated too.

A class on Wednesday with Gwen Marston at Quiltsmith gave me all of the above in bucketloads. 

I've never come away from a one day workshop with a completed project, until now.

It measures a tiny 12" x 13" but it is backed and bound.  Finished.  Done.  Complete.

Gwen is a lovely teacher; very approachable and generous.  She has amazing energy and it was my priviledge to be a part of her class and later attend a lecture.  For anyone considering a class with her I can highly recommend it.

On another finishing note, I also completed my chartreuse jumper started last winter.  It's been colder than usual, (or am I older than I was last winter?) so I am looking forward to wearing it.  Seems like I am still loving chartreuse.  I didn't realise until now that the quilt and the jumper are both the same colour.    Right now a little doll is wearing it.

 Maybe she should actually be under my Gwen Marston quilt...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bits and Pieces

Sometime ago I ran a class on Big Stitches.  We embellished a fat quarter with multiple colours of big stitches.  When I found a forgotten bag of white bobbles, it seemed that the sample was destined for cushion-hood.

Not very practical considering its white background; well, at least not in my house.  I have pulled it out again because I am running another class next month at Quiltsmith.

My machine is at the fixers.  Just having a spring clean.  Odd, considering it's well and truly winter at my place.  However, what to do when there is no pedal to put to the metal.  Well, I have been hand piecing and trying to finish off some knitting.

I've also been working overtime with my rotary cutter.   The stash is tumbling out floorwards and it's calling for attention.  Even though I don't use jelly rolls generally, I have been cutting 2.5" strips, 2" strips and even 1.5" strips.  I've also been cutting 4.5" squares to turn them into 3" finished hourglass blocks.

I am bagging 100 at a time.  So far only one lonely bag.  I was inspired by Kathie who had her quilt on the front cover of an American quilting magazine (again!!).  Only 600+ blocks required.

It's easy to spend time sewing at the moment.  The weather has been good for ducks.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tree Hugging

Below are a few more photos from the Brooklyn Museum exhibition, all with a similar theme.

Above is a Star of Bethlehem dated about 1830, and measuring a huge 95" x 95.5".

A circa 1850 Star of Bethlehem (so many pieces of silk!) and this quilt measures  91" x 86".

Also dated circa 1850 and 84" x 82".  I'm not sure which I like best, but since I can't have any of them it doesn't matter.  Looking at quilts like these is inspiring.  While I like to make large quilts, in the name of pragmatism I rarely make a quilt bigger than 84" wide.  Just so I don't have to buy more than 2 drops of fabric for the backing. 

Next week is the Sydney Quilt Show and it promises to be entertaining.  Over 400 quilts including the late Narelle Grieves' collection. 

Street art is a wonderful creative expression.  Walking through the Strand Arcade today I came across some of Magda Sayeg's work covering a gum tree

Click on the picture and you can see some pieced knitting!  Alongside Magda's work was some other woollen pieces by local young designers; a cute ensemble by Katerine Mavridis, but not enough to keep me warm this winter. 

Also this outfit, by Kathleen Choo

These sorts of things  never fail to make me smile.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Excuses, excuses.  I know you've heard them all.  I can't come up with anything original but I was away from home.  New York, in fact.

  Some of you are very clever and can send posts from your iphones.  Not me... but now I'm back, it's time to catch up.

The Brooklyn Museum has an excellent exhibition called "Work'd by Hand" Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts.  It runs until September 15th and then moves to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. from December 20th, 2013 until April 27th 2014.

I highly recommend it.  And there is a great book to accompany the exhibition.

These are only two of many quilts hanging.  Photos are allowed, but no flash.

Wouldn't it be lovely if all the quilts stored in the museums were actually shown to the public?  As a quiltmaker I am frustrated that the beautiful works of art are mostly locked up and virtually invisible.

While in New York I also visited the Folk Art Museum.  It is a tiny space and not one quilt was on show.  However, a little bird told me that there may be a quilt exhibition there later this year...

Amongst all the other galleries and museums, I visited the Met.  What an institution!  A dozen iconic Van Goghs lined up on a wall.

The whole of Austalia has three.

 On the other hand I scoured the giant building and could only find a wholecloth quilt on a bed in the American Furnishings section.

  Their beautiful quilts are languishing in drawers somewhere.  If I was a museum curator...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Old Quilts and New

There are two almost identical quilts made by the Roebuck women in the mid 1800s.  The quilts are legendary in Australian quilting circles.  So much so that one of them made it on to the cover of the book "The Fabric of Society" written by Dr Annette Gero.

Her book contains a pattern of the quilt drawn up by another Australian quilting legend Kim McLean.
Consequently there are quite a few versions circling the country. 

 Here is one made by Lesli for her mother.  She pieced it entirely by hand and then decided to have it custom quilted. It looks good on the reverse too so take the time to click on the photo.

I was able to assist in the binding.  It was fussy cut so that the motif appears regularly down the edge of the quilt

Last weekend I went to the Eastwood quilt show.  Lots of inspiration from a very talented and prolific group.  Jenny Burton was selling her antique quilts and quilt tops.  I looked at the collection and wondered whether in a couple of decades my unfinished quilts will be hanging in similar circumstances.