Saturday, October 25, 2014

Trees in nature and patchwork

Thank you so much for the lovely messages after my last post, I really did appreciate all your kind words and messages of sympathy. My trip to New Zealand gave me a much needed rest.
I had a lovely time catching up with family and especially spending time with my grand children. My DD has a lovely old farmhouse to live in with fabulous country views surrounding the property as you can see.
I really enjoyed seeing all the wonderful spring blossoms which we don't see as much of in the area where I live.
Even the trees that hadn't burst into life yet were a sight to behold.
Before I left for New Zealand, I had started making tree blocks for a new quilt. I love this process of slicing and dicing and not using precise piecing.
I had a stash of Kaffe Fassett shot cottons that were languishing in the cupboard and a container of Batiks that I thought I'd never use. They couldn't have been more perfect.
The method involves inserting strips of different sizes between the cuts and is pretty easy to do. The pattern is Twelve Trees by Helen Howes. There are many variations and settings you could use with these blocks.
There is a free tutorial showing how to make these blocks on Helen's site here and also Kelly over at Pinkadot Quilts has also shown a step by step process here.
I started by cutting my background rectangles 16 x 10 1/2"
I decided I liked the setting that Helen used for one of her quilts and followed suit, I have a few more blocks to do to make it to the 25 I had planned on. I'm such a copy cat but why change it when I love it so much.
Here's a peek at what appeared at the edge of my design wall. As if by magic really, I didn't intend to play with another new quilt but I wanted to cut a few pieces of fabric in these colours to see if I liked them. I do.
I have a few things on my list to do yet before I get to play some more.
Two squares cut 2.5" and one rectangle 6.5" x 2.5" if you're curious.
Until next time, Janet

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sewing accessories

 I made a thread catcher and it's perfect for those times I sew away from home.
Here it is folded flat for easy storage from the top.
And ta dah, a quick twist and it opens up.
And voila you have a round mini bucket. Some people are so clever to think up this stuff. I made mine a lot shorter in length and I think I'll make another one even smaller. You can find the free tutorial over at Red Hen Fabrics.
I made it quite a bit shorter than in the pattern because I really only need it for catching threads
I got envious of the social totes I was seeing on the internet so bought the pattern and took four afternoons to make this one.
I knew from what I'd read that it was tricky to put together and it was. To be honest, I have no desire to make another one. I like it but I don't love it.
I couldn't have understood the pattern if it wasn't for the step by step tutorial from here.
And last but not least is this pouch, the famous Sew Together Bag by Sew Demented. It's my new favourite accessory because it has three zippered pouches plus the parts between are great storage pockets as well. I love it so much that I''l be making more than this one when I get the chance. Once again an online tutorial helped enormously with the construction. I chose not to add the pincushion as I don't need it but it has a little felt piece on one side for parking needles.
I've only been able to manage some limited sewing these last months as I had an issue with my right hand that prevented proper movement of two fingers but I'm back to full use now thanks to some cortisone injections and a brace I've been wearing at night.
I'm unable to reply to comments for the time being. I'm flying to New Zealand as my Dad passed away and after the funeral I'll be spending time with my family there. Thanks for visiting especially after my long absence. I hope to be back on board in a few weeks.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The influence of other quilters

How often do you look at quilts made by others on the Internet at quilt shows or elsewhere and get influenced by their styles or skills?
It happens to me quite a lot and I think that's one of the reasons why I play around with so many projects.
At the recent Sydney quilt show I was drawn to this piece called Errant Geese by Jessica Wheelahan. I love this close up photo. It reminds me of the work of Gwen Marston and the Gees Bend Quilters.
I could see how much fun it would be to cut up pieces of fabric and play with colour and form, not worrying about rules or what anyone would think.
 Here's the whole quilt and the ribbon Jessica won was for best quilt inspired by an antique quilt awarded by Quiltsmith where I do my Aunty Green classes.
Jessica was sitting in front of me with her children at the awards ceremony and I caught up with her for a quick chat. What an inspirational, lovely lady she is. I was just sorry I missed her speaking at the quilt study weekend recently. I hear it was a wonderful talk.
Jessica doesn't have a blog but is on Instagram as birdie_beetle and has a page on Pinterest featuring a board of her other works at beats and pieces modern quilting.
Heres a totally different style of quilt made by Pamela Brockwell, another extremely talented and lovely person. Her quilt Fiore Della Vita won the best quilt in Victoria last year and is currently travelling along with my Rings And Roses quilt.
When I saw this in Melbourne, I couldn't stop looking at it. It mesmerised me for its machine quilting and all the special details such as the applique and cording. Pamela sure is friends with her machine!
Pamela had special permission from Sharon Schamber to make and enter this quilt as it was based on one of her designs.
This quilt top was pieced by hand by my friend Loz who managed to get all her blocks together at our quilting retreat in May. Of course you may recognise that it's Jen Kingwell's pattern, The Circle Game
It was making my fingers itch to play with fabric and go back to my own version that I started oh so long ago.

If you've been reading my blog for a long time, you'd know that I'm not very biased for just one style of quilt. I love that there's something for everybodys' tastes. I also love that styles and techniques are evolving, it'll be good for all of us by keeping the industry alive and well.

I'm very happy to report that one of my favourite blogs is back after a break. Kathie from Inspired By Antique Quilts is back online, go and check it out. Kathie's blog was deleted for a time so if you want to follow her, you'll have to add your name back again on her followers list.

Until next time, Janet

Thursday, July 10, 2014


What excitement at the quilt show in Sydney yesterday. Thanks to the grapevine, a lot of you already know that I took out some amazing prizes with my quilt, Coxcomb And Currants.
I won first traditional professional, a special award called retaining the tradition, best hand quilting in the open category and best of show.
Here I am pictured with Greg Alexander, Managing Director at Bernina Australia Pty who presented me with the best in show ribbon. I still look stunned in this photo, it was hard to take it in.
I started this one roughly two and a half years ago and wanted to participate in this years show so I dragged out the UFO and made it a goal to get it finished never dreaming it would do so well.
I only had my phone on me to take photos but you might be able to see the details well enough if you click on the photos.
The quilt was inspired by one shown on Julie Silber's blog, the quilt complex here.
It got sold a few years back and ended up on another antique dealers website and that's when we tried to buy it to no that stage I had already started my own version.
Here are some stats in case curious minds want to know.
All applique was done in the needleturn method and the block on the upper left corner has one extra berry in a nod to the quilters from the past..
I used 2,000 yards of YLI thread in the quilting.
The background quilting is straight lines approximately 1/4" apart.
The grid inside the trapunto wreaths is 3/8"
The grid on the outermost border is 1/2"
The trapunto was done before the quilt was basted.
There are a gazillion circles, sigh.
Ask me anything else if you'd like to know more. Now you know why my blog was so quiet.
Special thanks to my husband and son who did a lot of cooking and cleaning so I could quilt.
My gratitude and thanks to the NSW Quilters Guild for putting on such successful shows, its a lot of hard work.
Bernina Australia for being the main sponsors and for the support they give to the quilting community. Thanks also to all the other sponsors who provide prizes and Expertise Events who makes it all possible.
Gosh that all sounds a bit Oscar speech like but I truly am grateful and also to my friends in blog land who always encourage and support anything I do.
Thank you Tulley for guarding my quilt.
A list of other prize winners are listed on the guild website. be sure to check out the categories by clicking on the aqua tabs at the top. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Back after an unintentional break

This poor neglected blog has been sleeping a lot lately. I missed visiting my favourite blogs too and I'm sorry if you've been waiting to hear from me however, that doesn't mean I haven't been busy.
At the moment I'm spending some relaxing evenings hand piecing a Trip Around The World quilt from Brigitte Giblin's facebook challenge. It's a lot of fun and my quilt is taking on it's own personality with each round. I thought I'd be doing something in softer colours but it has a mind of it's own. The constant which everyone is using will be the red and white spot fabric.
Hand piecing is not my forte and I don't mind admitting that all these squares aren't 1 1/2". I seem to have my own personal seam allowance.
I have a few projects up my sleeve I've been wanting to get to including these softies I want to make for the grandchildren. I have a lot of catching up to do on other quilts as well.
I had a bit of tidying up around the place with my fabric since my son bounced back home to live. My sewing stuff had migrated into several rooms much to my horror. I now have two new flat pack cupboards which have been squeezed into the sewing room.
It's also now got improved new lighting in there so is much nicer to work in.
I've been so quiet on the blog since I set myself the goal of finishing up a quilt for the Sydney quilt show which opens tomorrow. I was putting in forty hours of quilting a week towards the end but I made it. I'll be back in a couple of days and then I can show you some photos of the quilt.
Until next time, Janet