Sunday, 31 August 2008

A quilt that needs a name

Yesterday I made 3 more of these blocks. That's a total of 30 so far.

I need to spread them out on my bed (this is my largest flat surface and it's a good way to measure the quilt to see if it will fit!!) to calculate how many blocks I will need.

It is sooo good to have my workspace back again. I am keen to finish this quilt top while I have this UFO on the list of 4. It would be too easy to put it away again. I forget when I started them. I think Andrea was looking at Nickel Quilts at the time, so it was when she was in Australia. Was that 2006?

I think the quilt needs some black and some more orange fabrics in it. I won't know until I spread them all out today. I will take a photo and and ask for feedback on colour selections. Even though I have not spread out all the blocks yet, I can see that it still needs something at the moment. The red and orange block on top of the pile is one of my favourites already.

I do need to think of a name for this quilt.... my brain is not awake yet... Any suggestions?

Saturday, 30 August 2008


Well... I have a confession to make. I started a new project... I was in a hurry yesterday morning and I knew I would be on a bus for a couple of hours during the day - I needed some handwork. Fast! (Nooooo.. I told you, I am tired of the civil war hexagons for a while).Why did I finish the chicken soup quilt the night before? I could have been binding on the bus!!

I had a PIGS ready to go... so I started stitching it on the bus! The threads, fabric and pattern were all ready. What could I do? shrug It is called "Christmas Mice" by Cinderberry Stitches. The same designer as the wallhanging I made called "The Night Before".

On another note, I have decided what is currently on the list of 4:
  1. Christmas Mice

  2. 1950s dresses

  3. Civil War Pieced Blocks

  4. Christine Book stitcheries

Red, white and yellow cherries can go to Mum for quilting on the longarm. I am stumped how to quilt it anyhow - so it is off the list for now.

I said to my DH , at least the Civil war pieced blocks are from my stashes... and he said "moustaches??" So, we had a giggle together and I showed him the blocks. The blocks are lovely and scrappy. You might get a look at them tomorrow.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Chickened out

It's finished!! Chicken Soup For The Soul. The back is rather fungly, although the yellow Jacobean fabric is a pretty.

Still, it is much better in a quilt than sitting in the red, yellow and orange stash box the backing fabrics all came out of. The quilt as you go (QAYG) sashings on the back were all leftover bindings. I even joined them. I felt so liberated!! I am proud of me. This fungly backing has lessened my immediate need to respond to Lazy Gal's fungly challenge.

This quilt was finished so quickly, I wonder if I can pick something quicker than the 1950s dresses to replace Chicken Soup on the list of 4 current projects. The QAYG was so easy, I am ready to finish another quick one off in the same way. It is such a good feeling! And, I used fabric from my stash for the back. That also felt good! (Now I can get some more... I just saw Jo Morton's new range Meg's Bouquet). It looks brighter and fresher in real life. These fabrics are real zingers.

Only 28 UFOs left to finish and so many more future projects to start!!! Let's go!!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The beginning of stitchery

Dang it! I thought of another UFO - sock monkeys quilt AND I found three Christine Book stitcheries I did about 8 years ago. *sigh* That is 2 more added to the UFO list. I am back to 29 again!

I won the wheelbarrow pattern as the lucky door prize and Rosie (who I had just met) was working on the gate pattern. Her stitched picture looked so cute! Rosie was using variegated threads for the writing, do I did too.

This was the beginning of stitchery for me. It is so quick, bright and colourful, less expensive than some quilting fabrics and much less expensive than cross-stitching (so much thread per square inch!!) and I can make them into quilts, wallhangings or cushions! Useful stuff!!

Still going on the chicken soup quilt, I think I am up to the easy bit. Hang on! The whole thing has been easy. I guess that's why I like all the stages of making a quilt.

Chicken Strips

Mmm... chicken strips! Actually, I am not at all hungry. I just cooked some Greek lamb sausages to eat for lunch at work and I stink of cooking meat!! I will need to drive with the window open. First, I need to force this muesli down my throat before I leave. It is an awful long time before morning tea - nearly three hours from now.

But, now, back to the quilting: I have joined the 9 chicken blocks into strips of 3. I used up leftover bits of binding on the back. BTW the back is looking VERY colourful! As this quilt is intended to be the "feeling sick" quilt, I hope the back is uplifting rather than nauseating! LOL!! My DH says the the back is looking rather fungly! Not only has he been reading my blog, he is up with the lingo! Bless him!

Last Saturday at a quilt-in, Margaret introduced herself to me, and I said "I have one of your chicken blocks and I am just putting the quilt together". What a coincidence! One of her chickens pictured above is saying "I can lay 10 eggs". What a bragger!

The pink and purple chicken is the one I made. I know that chickens are not really pink, but it is just for fun. I wonder if anyone seeing the title of this post imagines a chicken doing a strip-tease. I think the pink and purple chicken would be one doing the stripper dance.

I got a present in the mail!

Thank you Cathy! Cathy currently has a giveaway. You need to post your favourite memory about being 10.

I need to finish something else before I can start this. I know it won't take long once I get started, but I am on a roll with the chickens and I don't want to stop!

Monday, 25 August 2008


I have my quilting workspace back again and I have placed borders around each of the Chicken Soup blocks. They are also spray-basted. I have started machine quilting them. I want to join some by the end of today so that I can hand-stitch the joins on the back. I love quilt-as-you-go.

I think it was 2004 when my quilting group did not have enough people to go on our retreat (minimum numbers required for the venue), so we invited members of another group to come with us.

We called ourselves the Old Chooks - our weekend was chicken themed. We wore badges and played games. We made raffle blocks and brought them to the weekend: make as many 12 1/2in unfinished blocks as you like, with chicken wire background. Boy, did Rosie and I scour for that background! For every block you make your name goes on a raffle ticket to win a bundle of chook blocks. So, the more blocks you make, the more likely you are to win.
I made 3 blocks and I won one of mine (not yet pictured). I did my first machine-blanket stitching on them, and mine were pretty vibrant. Patience! you will see the one I made later! I had just bought my new machine, and I still love it. It has been an absolute workhorse!

I reckon I could finish this quilt by next week!
As you can see, I have a varied range of quilts in my stack!! LOL!! I can really see how my tastes have changed during the last 11 years or so.

Maybe I should show a picture of my first quilt made in 1997?

Rubbing my hands with glee

I think it was 2006 when I printed off free stitchery patterns from Bobby Socks Quilt Company. Each month I kept up to date with the stitching on the 1950s dresses pattern BOM. The original quilt is in black, pink and green. I chose warm and vibrant colours for my blocks.

While out quilt shop hopping with Rosie, Sandra and Andrea I fell in love with this Flea Market fabric range. I had seen it a few times and had resisted purchase by asking myself what I was going to use it for. Aha! I will select a few pieces for sashing etc for the 1950s dresses quilt! Don't the colours look yummy?

There seem to be a few extra bits and pieces in the box I have also delegated to this quilt project. Except for the green I got them all in a scrap bag for only $5!! Poor unwanted things, I will love you!

I am thinking I might combine the stitchery blocks with Maverick stars and just "build it and see". I don't have a design wall (yet), so I can't just let it grow on the wall. I am rubbing my hands with glee!

I know this rearranges the list of 4, but I can't work on the French Stitchery quilt if i haven't got the fabric can I?

New list in no particular order:

  1. Chicken Soup

  2. Red, white, yellow cherries (I must be getting bored with this one - actually I need workspace for basteing).

  3. 1950s dresses

  4. Civil war hexagons (I am bored of this one today, but need to keep handwork on the list).

Debi is celebrating her 200th blog post with a very generous give away. Congratulations Debi!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Charles and Di up in flames

I am busting to be accepted into the "Liberated Quilters" blogring. I have added the info to the side of my blog. I am not sure whether I will qualify yet. What if they already have their 30 members and I need to join a waiting list? *sigh* It is just so inspiring!! I have been studying quilt history for about 4 years, and the more vintage and antique quilts I see, the more I like, and the more I let loose. Not enough fabric? Substitute or join bits together!

Here is a quilt I made a few years ago... (maybe 2003, when I only had my ancient sewing machine). We were given a photocopy of the front page of a newspaper and were to make a quilt inspired by stories on the page. My page had stories about Prince Charles and Princess Diana splitting up and 2 people apprehended for their role in starting local bushfires. I called it "Charles and Di up in flames". It won the Editor's (of the newspaper) Choice prize. I love the way the flames overtake the binding edges. Charles and Di are quilted in variegated red threads.

Here is a photo of the back.

My usual workspace has been dismantled for the weekend. *sigh* So, I can't use my cutting mat etc (no room!!) this weekend. I haven't been able to make any progress on the Chicken Soup quilt. I did sew about 6 civil war hexagons at the quilt-in yesterday though! LOL!!!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Who am I kidding?

You have GOT to have a look at this quilted servo (that's service station if you don't know how to speak Australian). Bloody brilliant!

I have no desire to make one of my own, but I do want to make a bookshelf quilt after viewing this one. I have seen them before, but this one looks 3-D. The flowers are in front of the shelves etc. Well done Jas! Want to see other quilts made by Jasmine? Also see here and here. What fun!

ARGH! Another wanna-doo! I keep finding them. At least if I keep a list I can prioritise which one to start first. Hey! That might stop me from starting something I really don't want to/don't have time to/shouldn't make. Who am I kidding? Nah!

We're off to a Quilt-In today. I wonder if I'll get much stitching done..

Who am I kidding? LOL!

I pieced this quilt (using only my stash) in January 2007 while my hand-sewing arm was sore and I made a few machine-pieced quilt tops while my DH played cricket. I saw a tiny picture of an antique quilt in a book, and this is my version of it. The border is around only 3 sides as in the original quilt. It is the scale that really makes this quilt for me.

Mum quilted it earlier this year, and I forgot to add it to my list of finished items. It was my online musing about quilts on the bed that made me remember it. Go blog! YAY! I am happy to be sharing my quilting diary. No kidding.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Winter is a good time for chicken soup

Looking back at the Aussie quilt on yesterday's post - my DH asked me: Would T be happy with the gum leaves I had quilted in the border? She did ask for stipple. I started to get worried.

But the look on her face when I gave it to her yesterday swept away any concerns. She was over the moon, and quilting gum leaves into the border had never entered her mind, so she would never have asked for them. Phew!

Next thing to work on before I can start the fungly quilt is the Chicken Soup quilt from raffle blocks I won in 2004.

Don't they look good? I am going to put borders around each block then quilt-as-you-go. I think I will use up some fungly fabrics on the back too.

It was sooo cold last night that I had a doona and 3 quilts and my bedtime beanie (polarfleece) on all night! I slept under the wedding quilt, luxembourg and my vintage log cabin. Hey! That's a finish I need to post on my list for this year as well! *dance around* Well, you know what you can expect tomorrow now.

That scribbly stitching

This is a photo of a work colleague's first quilt. T just bought a new swanky-doo sewing machine with lots of bells and whistles. She is making this quilt for a gift to the host school in a Japanese exchange.

T has excitedly been showing me various stages of her progress. Then she asked me: what button do I press to get that scribbly stitching (stipple). I explained it was obtained by moving the fabric in a free-motion style, and to achieve results she would be happy with she would probably need to practise for about 20 hours before-hand. Did she have that time? So, I offered to quilt the borders for her.

Then I saw the quilt with its 3 dimensional leaves and flowers. I was not putting scribbly stitching on here! I stuck on press'n'seal a friend brought over from the U.S. a few years ago and drew large Eucalypt leaves. It didn't take long to quilt the borders. It was pulling all the sticky bits out of the close stitches that took a long time.

NB - I had a previous incident with press'n'seal. While I discovered it was wonderful for holding your quilt marking in place, it was a bugger to pull out when the quilting was detailed and close (If I forget, remind me and I will post a photo of my feathered star quilt).

And finally, my maverick quilt: Kaffe and Liberty United. Sometime around 2006 - Rosie, Andrea and I were stopping at earmarked quilt shops on our way to a particular shop about 2 hours uninterrupted drive from home (Sandra was overseas this time). We stopped at a shop selling Kaffe and Liberty prints and lots of other lovelies. The Kaffe prints were about A$32 per metre and the Liberty prints were about A$40 per metre. I found some of them irresistible and purchased a little from each family. I blended them with some fabric I was saving for a Paula Nadelstern kaleidoscopic quilt (lots more collecting to go anyway and I might not like them in another 10 years when I finish all my UFOs!).

Here she is with the binding on. Mum quilted large modern flowers in an allover design. Did you notice 2 of the corners are not square?

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Civil war building blocks... er hexagons

I have finished the binding on the Kaffe and Liberty quilt - but I need someone to hold it for a good photo.
I can show you a photo of the latest civil war hexagons I have been working on...

Today is "poem in your pocket" day at work. We carry a poem around and share them with each other. I have chosen 2 poems. "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost (1928) and "Warning!" by Jenny Joseph (1932). Hard times seem to have been good for poetry - one needed something to dream about I guess.

I am dreaming of finishing the Chicken Soup quilt ready to start a fungly quilt... (well, that's all I'm going to tell you anyway!!)

Monday, 18 August 2008

I feel like frolicking already!

Here are some better photos of the Christmas doorhanging.

I've had a very busy day and I got home from work in time to go for a 40 minute walk. That's three days in a row walking! I am proud of me. It's not easy if you usually get home when it's dark and you live (and therefore walk) in an unlit area. The ground is uneven and cars go fast (100km per hour) near my house - too dangerous! Spring is nearly here, and I am sooo ready for it! Daylight hours will be longer! Making a fungly quilt will be a good way to celebrate spring! I feel like frolicking already!

I am on my way to starting the fungly quilt (ooh! I wonder how I will quilt it???) I can start it once the binding is on the Kaffe and Liberty quilt and when the Old Chooks quilt is finished. Here is a sneak peek of the Kaffe and Liberty quilt with its binding machined on!

I am going to call the Old Chook raffle blocks quilt "Chicken Soup for the Soul" - it will be a nice and cheery quilt for family members (once I have a family) who are sick. I hope they will reminisce about their childhood days under the Chicken Soup quilt, and the comfort it gave them. I am storing up quilts for the future!!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Orange and poppyseed

Yesterday the Christmas wallhanging (or should I say "doorhanging") was basted. Now it is quilted and bound. Hurrah! It's not supposed to be on my list of four at the moment (head hung down). I was supposed to finish the binding on the Kaffe and Liberty first.

This is not a very good photo. No time to try again today.
Some days it's not easy to be up to date with blogs and quilting at the same time. I have chosen and cut the fabric for binding on the Kaffe and Liberty quilt. It won't happen tonight, I have other things to do - like the orange and poppyseed cake in the oven. Isn't that worth spending time on too?

Ooh! wouldn't that be a good name for a quilt - Orange and Poppyseed? I will have to design something especially to fit the title.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

My list of four has gone fungly

Lazy Gal Quilting has issed a challenge: make a fungly quilt (it's ugly and fun together). This is just the sort of thing that would help me use up some "unspeakables" in my stash.

I will just go and have a peek through some bits and pieces.

Hang on a minute....!! What about my list of four!! I've been working on the civil war hexagons, but that is such a long term project that it will take me a few years to finish it.

Ok, if I finish 2 off my old UFOs list can I start a fungly quilt? The Christmas redwork squares shouldn't take long and then the binding on Kaffe and Liberty. No, it's still not enough. I don't even have time to put the fabrics into a bag to add to my list of PIGs (Projects in Grocery Sacks).
I must think about this rationally!! It will take more than putting on a binding and making a small wallhanging to justify my urge to make a fungly quilt.
Here's my new proposal:

  • Work on list of four:
  1. Kaffe and Liberty binding

  2. Quilt red white and yellow cherries quilt top

  3. put together French Collection stitchery quilt (waiting for fabric)

  4. working on Civil War Hexagons (this is a pick-up and put-down project)
  • Goals in order to start Fungly quilt:
  1. binding on Kaffe and Liberty (this will let me add another project to the list of four)

  2. make Christmas raffle blocks into a wallhanging

  3. make Old Chooks raffle blocks quilt (quilt as you go?)

This is do-able and I can stick to my list of four! Hurrah! I knew I could sort it out.

Too bad I already started putting together the Christmas raffle blocks! oops! Now where is my camera? Here they are, basted and ready to quilt.

Friday, 15 August 2008

The French Collection

This is one of the four projects I am currently focussed on. I have completely stitched 14 out of 15 blocks, with just a smidgeon left to do on the last one. I am waiting for the fabric to arrive, then I need to work out the setting to place them all in a quilt, well... wallhanging really. It would be just my luck to roll over in bed and break a porcelain button... wouldn't that be much worse than toast crumbs in the bed?

It's been really cold here and I have had 3 quilts on the bed as well as a doona (yes, we have central heating now, but we don't set it onto "sweaty" and we turn it off at night). My DH only has one quilt on his side - that's where quilts of different sizes really come in handy!

I have been using: my suprise wedding quilt, luxembourg, and the kaffe and liberty UFO that still needs binding.. tee hee.

That reminds me of a couple of years ago when Rosie and I spent an afternoon spray-basting quilts ready for quilting. Rosie went out that evening and when she got home her grown-up daughter was using the quilt intended for her quilt already. "It's not quilted yet" said Rosie to her daughter... like that would stop her using it!

Thursday, 14 August 2008

hairy quilt?

I am posting a little later than usual today, but I have a good reason. 2 hours at the hairdresser, and don't I feel glamorous!!!
Sitting with 3 ladies fussing around me while foils are put in and my hands are massaged with Aveda hand cream. Mmmm.

The Aveda hair colours don't stink like chemicals... but eminate the scent of lavender.

Then over to the vibrating chair while my hair is shampooed and my head is massaged.

The redness from my eyebrow shaping is nearly gone. They use a new wax type now, and fabric is not "wasted" by removing hair.. this putty stuff just pulls off, (with much less danger of taking off the whole eyebrow apparently) and it doesn't hurt as much.

*chortle* I just had a bizarre image of a quilt made from waxing strips with little hairs attached. EWWW!!!! A hairy quilt!

I have been writing up the instructions for this quilt I finished a couple of months ago. I made it using a fabric bundle Mum gave me for my birthday in 2006. The quilt top was pieced in January 2007 when I had a sore arm and couldn't do any hand sewing. I made 3 complete quilt tops that month - I was on holidays.

That means the quilt was a UFO until this year. The finish list is looking more and more healthy every day. But, dear reader you mustn't be disapointed if I don't post something finished every single day! I just don't have time to make that hairy quilt....

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Addicted to yarn

Did I mention I like to knit? Not that I am addicted to knitting, but I am addicted to yarns - textures, colours, combinations.. Mmmmm yummy. I purposely bypass the yarns and beads at the big craft shows - I can't afford it and I am too weak-willed!

During June I tried fair-isle for the first time since I was a teenager (when it didn't work... I pulled too tight or too loose at the back or I had holes between the colours...) This time it worked!! Balls of wool were going everywhere as I intertwined the yarns to prevent holes.

I chose small projects that would not be too heavy on the arms and would not take all Winter to make...

The Scandinavian pattern is from a bargain book purchased at a garage sale.

The animal jumper is from a fun book I found in the library.

There are no hidden meanings in these items!! I have no plans for children in the immediate future! I'm just addicted to yarn....

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

One reason or another

I was in a panic when I made that UFO list... but now I have listed 8 finished items for 2008 (with more already finished items to add), I can see a pattern emerging.

Six of my eight finished items were started and finished this year. Why haven't I finished the old ones?

I lost momentum for one reason or another... I tried not to go onto another new project until I finished one - that has really helped me not to add to the list. It gives me incentives to finish something so that I can start my hot new project.

It is important for me to discuss what the "reasons or another" are that have built up my UFO list - I hope that you will modify your behaviour if you recognise these "symptoms"....
  • Run out of or can't find fabric for the task (hell-ooo! that happened with the 2007 mystery quilt! I needed fabric for 2 leaves and couldn't find it anywhere despite asking all over the internet. Five months later I found my piece... where it wasn't supposed to be!
  • Start stitchery block per month and get sidetracked when waiting for blocks (if I had them all it would only have taken me about 2 months to do them all) - know what I mean?
  • Need to buy fabrics to suit e.g. initial swap blocks, 1930s baskets, wedding blocks from friends - while trying not to purchase fabrics.. therefore, need to get into a lot of temptation by taking blocks along to match for sashings (going on a hunt for fabric allows too many opportunities to regress into fabric collecting)... it's so scary!

  • Had to stop the quilt while collecting co-ordinating fabrics - mind you, that was a long time ago. I do not need to collect fabrics anymore, I am trying to use them up. But, when I started the Jane Stickle quilt in 2001 I had to stop several times to collect more black reproduction fabric, then more brown, more purple etc.

  • Won blocks in lucky block draw and therefore did not fit into the urgent, mad rush that comes with deciding on a new project (Christmas redwork, old chooks blocks).

  • I stuffed up and it needs unpicking and a clear head to suss out what I did wrong.
  • I don't like it anymore - either the fabric choices, or my skills have improved so much over the last 7 years that I can't bear to look at that atrocity let alone finish it! But, I can't throw it out either (I have given one UFO away to a good cause).

  • Another deadline took over - e.g. a wedding quilt had to be finished so I put that one away for a little while.

  • It's a project to pick up when I am between projects (e.g. civil war hexagons)

I would love to hear your excuses... or is it "recognised reasons" for building up a list of UFOs. Please post a comment.
I must add one more thing before I add a picture - I make quilts because I find it relaxing and soothing. Why should I work on something if I don't feel like it? This is why I have limited myself to working on four at the moment...

Maybe civil war hexagons will be removed from my list of four before it's finished because I will tire of it, but that is my perogative.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Jane A. Stickle quilts

Well, you've seen my Jane Stickle quilt colours. The quilts pictured today were on display at the VicQuilters showcase July 2008. They are spectacular. Just like the "Nearly Insane" quilts in the slideshow, every Jane Stickle quilt (otherwise known as "Dear Jane") has different fabrics and a different look. Congratulations to these quiltmakers for their achievements. Thank you for inspiring other quilters.

Mostly I followed the geometric draft of each block in the book, even when it did not match the way the original block was constructed. I changed a few things around for my convenience. e.g. I appliqued rather than pieced some shapes.

It took me five years to make 169 blocks and the pieced triangles. I had to stop periodically to collect fabrics. (Now I am battling to reduce the stash!) Jane Stickle's quilt has trip around the world colouring from the centre, then the colours blend and the pattern is lost.

I decided on my own trip around the world colour scheme before I started. I didn't want too much brown in my quilt, so I put in more purple, red and blue.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Wonderful weekend...

I hope you have had a wonderful weekend! I'm just back from solid sewing time with friends, food and frivolity!!
I finished putting the scallops border on my vintage-look Jane A. Stickle quilt and gave it to Mum for quilting (borders not shown, it's just good to have a photo of the whole quilt top).

I finished piecing together the red white yellow cherries quilt top - silly me! I didn't take a picture yet!

I machine quilted and bound the Celebrate December wallhanging - it really is finished!

I sewed the label on the group Charity quilt.

I have nearly finished the French Collection Stitcheries (working on the last one).

I pieced the backing fabric for the 2007 Mystery Quilt and gave it to Mum to quilt. There was room to spread the quilt top out for a photo of the whole top. How is that red border?

Jo made a Disappearing 9-patch using the Lucinda's Needle fabric.

Di finished stitching her Christmas tablerunner. The little pictures are tres chic!

As the December quilt is finished, this means I have room on my list of four projects to work on:

  • red white yellow cherries baby quilt (needs quilting)

  • Kaffe and Liberty tumbling blocks (needs binding)

  • Civil War hand-pieced hexagons (until I get a quilt from Mum that needs binding)

  • French Collection stitcheries (quilt top needs piecing, waiting for fabric)
  • The list of four seems to be helping... now I just need another retreat weekend to finish a few more things!! LOL!!