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.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Rip or Cut

My friend saw a quilt somewhere on the world wide web.  She didn't remember where it came from, but she sent me a picture from her phone.  It was beautiful and it was small.  So I copied it for her...

I would like to give credit to the designer, but unfortunately, dear friend didn't bother with that detail.  If you know where this quilt design came from,  I am very happy to edit this post and give credit. Such a simple pattern and yet so striking.

 Also, fitted in with my solids fetish.

As to the title.  Well, I've been working on more window seat cushions and was using this fabric for the gusset

I tore the top of the fabric and cut the other side with my rotary blade.  I don't know if you can look closely, but you may see that the fabric  appears stretched at the top.  Not so on its bottom edge.  However, it is starting to fray there.

I've bought fabric around the world.  With the exception of a sadly closed shop in Sydney, and most of the fabric shops in Melbourne, all the shops I've visited cut.  I would be glad to hear your opinion in the rip v cut debate.  I don't pre-wash (tsk tsk) so perhaps there is an advantage to tearing. ie there aren't so many tangled fibres after washing.  I don't know.  If there are other reasons for tearing rather than cutting, it would be interesting to hear them.

Myself, I like to hug the nice clean cut fabric on my way home from LQS.   

Monday, April 1, 2013

Not Fooling Around

Over Easter I couldn't resist playing with fabric.  The pattern,  Hunter's Star has long been a favourite of mine.   The pink fabric is an Aboriginal print that is available at Quiltsmith. It has large ants running all over the surface in and around concentric circles.


I like the combination of fabrics but sadly the stars seem lost.  I'm not giving up and next  I'll try a similar version but with black stars.  These 3 blocks will become my first table runner.  I don't really do table runners...

An accident in the mail reduced the 24" x 6.5" ruler into 2 separate rulers.  Luckily, the day was saved by a little ingenuity.   After a few minutes in the workshop smoothing off the sharp edges and filing both sides down,  there are 2 more rulers to add to my collection.  I'm sure the 2.5"x 6.5" ruler will prove extremely versatile.  The larger 20"x6.5" will be handy as well.

My quilt for Hanna is already finished.  Soile did a lovely job quilting it.  She kindly put the binding on as well.  She has posted a picture on her blog and here is another photo all the way from Finland.  The quilt is now on Hanna & Timo's bed.

There are lots of unquilted tops lying around.  I am making an effort to finish off some older projects, such as my red and white quilt.  Here is a picture of the back:

Like a picture of a polar bear in the snow, not very interesting unless you like hand quilting.  The lines are 1/2" apart, the feathers 6" diameter.  Slow going but I am enjoying the quilting.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Fear of the Unknown

After viewing many of the tumbler quilts on Kathie's blog I just started cutting.  I made my tumblers 3" finished.  My ruler  has two little angles at the bottom for cutting off tiny pieces.  It seemed rather tedious at the time, but it meant that the pieces lined up easily and  in no time at all I put my new quilt top together.

In fact, it's so big I couldn't fit the whole quilt into the frame on my camera. I have pressed the seams open between rows.  There is some dispute as to whether it was a good idea, but I would like to see for myself.  I've been informed that my seams will be weaker, but once it's quilted, surely that is not an issue.  It certainly lies flatter at the moment.  Any comments?

 My intention is to machine quilt it using a walking foot.  In spite of all my lessons on free motion quilting, I'm still too anxious to let go with the darning foot.  I can still remember the same sensation learning to dive.  So many years and so many dives later, in retrospect I know it to be unreasonable.

However, it would be more than tedious to unpick lots of hastily sprayed FMS so I'm opting for the easy, safe road.

Meanwhile, I'm busily baking all sorts of flourless cakes, orange and walnut, chocolate and almond and my new favourite, orange sponge.  Chag Sameach!

Monday, March 18, 2013

On my Bum

 True to my plan for 2012, I have been working in solids.  The applique quilt is coming along nicely.  There are 9 blocks; so far 3 are complete and a fourth is underway.

While I haven't been quilting as much as I'd like, I did recently cover a cushion for the window seat.  It's my favourite spot to sit and catch some sun and watch the world go by.  The large print on top is Amy Butler home decorator fabric and the  gusset is a Kaffe Fassett spot.

 The cushion has not one, but two zips.  Initially I made a neutral cover with a zip.  When I stood back to admire my handiwork I realised that there was no life in it at all.  So back to the drawing board and I came up with a much happier, more colourful version 2.  It even has piping. Rather than toss the original away, I left it in place and covered it over.

Zips and piping.  Previously I have said I can't even sew a handkerchief.  I must be getting better at using my sewing machine.  Eventually I'd like to make a shirt.  I even have some beautiful Kaffe Fassett fabric set aside for this very purpose.

 I know it is directional, but in my mind that is a much smaller obstacle to hurdle than  actually making something that fits and I could be seen in publicly. 

The local upholsterer has been having a massive sale so I bought fabric for chair cushions, curtains and even armchairs.  Wish I could have bought some sewing hours to go with them.  I am quietly confident that I will get some more home dec going this year.
  No fabulous quilts to show; just humming along, keeping my head above water.  I have an nice repro quilt top I just finished that I'll show next time.  Till then, be good.


Monday, March 11, 2013

A New Start

Have you ever had one of those days?  Sure you have.  Well I had one of those years.  Something had to give and it was patchwork; and then of course, blogging.

In the past few weeks I have been able to return to my sewing.

In 2012 I travelled quite a bit.  One of my destinations was Helsinki to see my Finnish friends Hanna and Timo.  In a beautiful store called Stockmann I bought some wool and in no time at all knitted this scarf.

My hosts googled a quilt shop and took me to visit Soile where Hanna saw the quilt pictured in her blog post.

I recognised it as a design from the Material Obsession Book 1 and complimented Soile on her lovely quilt.  Hanna fell in love with it and also some Philip Jacob's fabric in the shop.  So it was decided that a Philip Jacobs version should be made in Australia and Soile would be responsible for the quilting the top when it reached Helsinki.

Hanne and Timo have just left after a 3 month visit to Australia and with them they took some binding, backing and this quilt top:

If you have visited my blog previously you may notice that the header has changed.  It is made from Liberty prints, all donated by Meryl.  She has given me a stash that I am hand piecing into a baby quilt.  Thanks, Meryl.