Monday, 15 January 2018

Children at the Gate aka "Happy"

I didn't think it had been that long since I made the quilt top and folded it up with the backing and binding, ready for quilting, until I started to write this particular blog post.  Hmmm....  Apparently it was 3 years ago, as you can see here in this previous post!  It was a shock to me that it has been that long.

However, there are always new babies being born, so it's a perfect gift for either boy or girl and with some wool/cotton wadding, it'll be nice and snuggly for a little one.  And, true to form, at the time of pulling out this quilt to look at it, we received news that there is to be a new baby in the extended family soon.

In mid-November 2017, I attended the baby shower for my 2nd cousin and his wife.  This quit was perfect for them.  I had two quilt tops and asked Hubby which one to give, he chose this one, which I'm glad of because they loved it.

I gifted "Happy"  for their first baby, which is due Feb 2018.  We had a beautiful afternoon, outdoors on the verandah,  playing silly games and talking.

 A nice fun and happy quilt with Dr Seuss Characters, frogs, animal alphabet and bright colours to wrap up in for some snuggle time and sweet dreams.

A peak at the animal alphabet backing fabric.
Finishing at 37in x 51.5in (94cm x 131cm), it fits beautifully into the cot.  

My cousin came out into the yard and said to me "You need to go inside and see what Master 4 has done..."  Not sure what I was going to find, I discovered that he had gone inside with the quilt, took a cushion from the couch to use as a pillow and made up the cot, ready for the baby to go to bed when it comes home from hospital, which was super adorable - he melted many hearts with his thoughts and actions. 

Pattern used:  "Garden Ladder" in Australian Quilters Companion, issue 60 (Vol 12 No 2).

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Happy New Year 2018 and ponderings

Recently I read the following statement:

" A legacy of quilts shared with others is better than a garage sale of

quilt tops after you die." Author Unkown

There is a lot of truth in that statement.  I am always surprised when I give a quilt or get asked for a quilt that someone else really likes what I do.  Yes, I have received criticism over time, but that only seems to strengthen my resolve to improve what I do and not spend too much time worrying about the [bad] critics.

I have many goals to complete for 2018 and many of them include quilts to give, keep or exhibit as well as many knitting projects and hopefully some embroidery too.

For 2018, I appear to have a goal each month until August and then it'll be time to take stock.  There are many big projects in my list.

Up to March, I need to complete the following, which are my own designs:

  • Boy cot quilt - done, needs label.
  • Girl cot quilt - done, needs label.
  • Liberty Fabric Quilt for exhibition - centre is pieced, borders started.  
  • Quilt for friend's 60th in early April (to be valued mid-March)

Other things which I have planned/started, designed by other talented ladies are:... 

a) my ultimate goal which is to complete the 1718 Coverlet by Susan Briscoe for an exhibition in the UK in August '18.  This is one heck of a big task, started, but only just.  

and: b)  in the meantime, because I saw something bright, new and shiny - I started the "Daisy Blue" BOM by Esther Aliu .  I was more than happy to let myself be distracted during this holiday period.  

Here's my centre panel so far....
The pieces are sitting on the paper pattern at the moment and still need to be fused onto the background.  I'll cut out the circles when I find my circle template.  A nice mix of hand embroidery and fusible machine applique.  I have seriously mixed up fabric genres in this one - Kaffe Fasset, batiks, fossil ferns and some more traditional patterns.  And... surprise of the day, my Hubby, who often has no opinion walked in when I was taking the photo and said "WOW, I really like this one!"  Far out, I didn't think he took any notice of what I do....

I'm feeling happy; lucky to have some truly amazing friends, access to wonderful fabrics, a good sewing room and a family who support what I do.  Yep, you guessed it, my "word" for 2018 is Blessed.

Wishing everyone, peace, love and joy for the coming year.

Monday, 9 October 2017


Surprise is certainly what DH expressed when he opened his birthday present this year!  It was this jumper (and a few other goodies as well) which I had begun knitting in 2014.

Pattern:  Sirdar Click Chunky #9390
Yarn:  Morris & Sons Estate 14ply - Mouse

14ply - brilliant, I thought, should knit up nice and quick in this lovely rib pattern.  not so, the more I knitted, the harder and bulkier it was to handle.  Perfect for winter knitting because I could drape it on my lap when the nights were cold.

My sons were with me when I purchased the wool and so they chose the colour, knowing that it was going to be for their Dad.  

A thoroughly satisfying finished project, if I do say so myself.  And... the bonus is that he loves it!! 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Little Big Stars

Pre-cut squares - A challenge?

Well, the challenge was issued on a Yahoo quilt group, and I have to admit I didn't think I'd take it up - Sewing with pre-cut squares, despite having 3 charm square packs, nicely tucked away in the cupboard with their sketches and extra fabrics.  "No, I must work on other things" I kept on saying to myself.

Fast forward a few days and I was home with two unwell sons.  I was in a bit of a funk and really couldn't seem to focus on anything.

So, I looked in the cupboard for some inspiration and one package of charm squares simply leapt into my hands.  They are so pretty, the picture I had stored with them looked so simple.  Nice, relaxing.... fun, pretty and bright... 
I had stored the charm pack, not only with a sketch with an idea of what to make, but the extra fabric for the stars was there too.

Well, now, a few days later, it's a quilted quilt.  Not huge, a beautiful little baby quilt with an interesting backing.  

A nice red binding to really make the stars pop and to tie everything together.

And the backing? - well, that became interesting too!

There were a couple of charm squares left over...  I drew 'splotches' onto vliesofix and then appliqued the splotches onto the backing for a bit of fun.

Then I sewed all of the left over 'stitch'n'flip' quarter square triangles into hourglass blocks and pieced a section for the back.  


Now, I have a fun backing and there are no left over fabric pieces.

Totally happy, despite having unhappy sons, my sewing was relaxing and they were happy because I was right there with them.  This is a definite "make again" pattern, very satisfying.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Dancing Queen......

You are the Dancing Queen, young and sweet, only seventeen....  - remember that glorious song by ABBA?   The song was so stuck in my head while I was quilting this quilt - Dancing Nines by Bonnie Hunter.

Back in October 2016, Bonnie Hunter was booked to come to a local group and teach, however, her trip to Australia was cancelled, but she did graciously allow us to still make one of her patterns.  A very clever and super fast sewing member, M, of our group, made her own Dancing Nines quilt and then proceeded to host and guide us through the day.

I cut up all of my Batik scraps in blue/green, plus a jelly roll.  There were hundreds of squares to be cut up, including a few little pink/red/orange ones for interest.

I laid out each of my nine-patch blocks individually.  That was my personal choice because I wanted to use up the fabrics evenly.

Very addictive, once I had made one block, I just wanted to keep on making more and more....

 Eventually the time came to put them together into a quilt top.  The sashing fabric is a very soft pastel batik green with leaves on it.  Making the individual blocks and then putting them all together was an absolute joy.  A very quick, fun quilt to make - did I mention addictive blocks?

I cut out the border pieces while cutting for the main quilt top.  I love how the border surrounds the blocks to give a nice frame, and the little peep of burnt orange/red to separate the centre from the border.
The binding is the same fabric as the inner narrow border.  There is the most subtle of gold metallic print on it.

And the backing, a lovely, very indulgent purchase of blue/green batik....

This is the first really big quilt that I have quilted with my new sewing room set-up, and I think I am going to have to make some changes to stop the quilt from sliding off my sewing table, especially at the back.  It was very hard work to quilt the borders because the quilt kept on falling of the table.  My piano key quilting is very wonky... ho hum... 

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Buttons and Loose Ends

Sewing in loose ends and adding buttons has been on my radar this past week.

While looking for some hand-work to take along to sewing groups, I decided to dig into my knitting basket.  I found several items which simply needed ends sewn in and buttons and embellishments added.  They were actually sewn up, just not totally finished.

Here is what I worked on (and completed 100%!!!) these past 10 days while sitting, chatting and drinking coffee with friends...

Blue Green Vest
Knitted with Morris & Sons Quartet 8ply. 70%wool/30% soybean silk
Pattern:  Sirdar Escape DK #9263
Lovely soft yarn and super warm.  Perfect knitting on the very cold nights.  I am lucky there is still cold weather left to come so I can get some benefit wearing it this year.

Little Cardigan and Hat (to fit 6 months)
Knitted with Creative Fibres hand-dyed 100% New Zealand wool 8ply
Patterns:  Cardigan - Sirdar Snuggly Kisses DK pattern #1835
          Hat - from Big Baby Book 5 by Sue Batley-Kyle
Delightful, fun patterns to knit.  The flower just adds a touch of whimsy to a pretty cardigan for a little one.

Triangle Scarf
Knitted with Bendigo Woollen Mills - Bloom 100%wool
Pattern:  Bendigo Woollen Mills #8338 Murano
Once, I got 'into the groove' of the knitting, because you knit partial rows to make the triangles, it became very easy to knit.  Thoroughly enjoyed this one, even though I had a couple of goes at it while trying to understand how to start the pattern.

Knitted with Patons Jet and Patons Souffle
Pattern:  Wondoflex Yarns Ladies Wool and Mohair Garter Stitch Hat
A super fast knit with an extremely easy pattern.  Incredibly warm too with 12ply and 8ply yarns knitted together.  The mohair gives a lovely softness.

Textured Baby Jacket
Knitted with Heirloom Jigsaw 4ply  75%wool/25%nylon
Pattern:  Sirdar Snuggly 4 ply #1989
Simply delightful knitting.  The Heirloom yarn is so nice to touch and have in your fingers.  The pattern was lovely too with the changing textures in the knitting and the variegated yarn just added to the overall look and feel.

It has been very nice to find some space in my knitting basket and to get these few things completely finished.  Most of these will go into my gifting basket, except for the blue green vest, which is for me.

And... the long quilting list in my last post?  I am slowly working my way through it.  I have completed one item and worked on the others, but I think I may have been a tad over ambitious when I made that list.  However, it has given me good focus and for that I am grateful.  Slow but steady wins the race - or so they say! :)

Monday, 31 July 2017

Goal setting...

No photos today - sorry folks, but I have set some goals for August, and hopefully, by writing them down here, I will be accountable to cross off as many as I can.

In a message on a Yahoo group that I belong to, one of the members asked:  
  • How about you?  Do you have plans for August??

And here is my reply; 

Why, yes I do, thank you for asking! :)  My August plans are:

  1. Continue to quilt  my version of "Dancing Nines" 
  2. Bind Dancing Nines.
  3. Complete "Bali Bluster" quilt top - it's in many, many pieces at the moment and is made up of Birds in the Air blocks.
  4. Layer, baste and quilt Bali Bluster quilt and hopefully get the binding done too.
  5. Work on Splendid Sampler blocks.
  6. If I get done on the above, pull out "Garden Gate" kiddie flimsy to baste/quilt for a baby, which is not due until Feb - but I'm pretty slow at hand-sewing binding.
To tally up:
- Dancing Nines is an UFO from Aug 2016 (pattern by Bonnie Hunter)  
- Bali Bluster was started on 21/07/17 - new start 10 days ago in a class at my local group.
- Splendid Sampler I started in May this year when the second sew-a-long started.
- Garden Gate is an UFO from October 2014.  (see this post)

These are big goals for me, as I'm not as fast as some at quilting/binding, but I'm being very optimistic.  Two UFO's and one new start to be completed by end Aug.

It feels good to have this out of my head and written down.  This list has been printed and put up in my sewing room so that I can have the satisfaction of crossing things off a list!