Thursday, 27 November 2008

Power down! It's the wrong trousers!

Well, no power at home this morning means no picture of the little bird stitchery destined to become a cushion.

It also meant no coffee, no hairdryer and the wrong trousers.

I couldn't iron the lightweight pants and top I wanted to wear for the 30C day today... so I am wearing 3/4 jeans. Definitely the wrong trousers Grommet!!

It's okay. I have had a coffee at work, and I will share the bird stichery tomorrow.

Until then, let's be grateful for power, computers, digital cameras and coffee makers. VBG

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Where are the quilts?

I know, I know. This is my quilting diary. Where are they? The last week's posts are all soft toys, bags and stitcheries.

Here is another post not about a quilt. LOL!!

My quilting group had a workshop 2 weeks ago to make a button necklace. Members used different colours, and their necklaces were of varied lengths. Looking good! I forgot to take my buttons that night. Last week we started the Christmas cookie bag, so I didn't make it then either. I made it last night. Just the other day, I was wearing my thread cutter from a piece of ribbon around my neck, when a friend from work said "Your necklace needs turning" - the knot in the ribbon was on the side. I just took it off, I wasn't wearing it as jewellery.

Look what I did!!

I knew I wanted my thread cutter to look nice when I wear it. I love the colours!!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Monkey Magic!

Do you remember that TV show? "Monkey Magic?". It was funny, badly dubbed and lots of play-acting with the Monkey floating along on a cloud quite a lot.

I don't remember that much of it (I was only about 6 or 7 at the time it was in telly), but perhaps it is closer to the Hindu stories than I ever knew.

Anyway, this monkey is working really well. It's really not that difficult (maybe I got lucky, it went together okay). The monkey has no tail! He is wearing shorts, so that's okay.

Even though mine has no arms yet, he feels like a great size to pick up and carry around. I am thinking of making one for a friend's 3 year old daughter. I am going to her Hi-5 birthday party in December. Hmm... We'll see how we go for time.

My DH says, you don't have time to make all the Christmas presents you plan to, but he's happy for me to make her the monkey!! LOL!!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

frogs, monkeys, what next?

I don't really like the way my Cookie bag is turning out. I might have to add some braid along the seams where the gusset joins... or... (and I dont really want to do this), I might have to frog it all (frog as in frog-stitch as in rippit rippit).

I am up to a tricky part on the monkey - I hope the back and front pieces I have made will match up!! The monkey is definitely more difficult to make than Mrs Perkins.

I've got so many things going on at work and business that I am not sewing as much as I would like at the moment. I am working and planning for the future, now.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Arms, legs and horns

I've sewn, turned and stuffed the tiny, tiny horns on Mrs Perkins. Would you believe they had to be stuffed with a wooden skewer!! Turning the raw edges under drove me a bit crazy!!

She now has ears, a mane and a tail. I just need some felt for the eyes.

Meanwhile, here is a little monkey. How do you like the arms so far? I am going to finish stuffing the arms and legs in the car today - (we are off to the Victoria Market - maybe we'll buy some nice fresh fish, cheap meat and very fresh fruit and veg).

And here is another job I will be doing in the car: finishing my Christmas Cookie bag. Here are the fabrics I chose. Don't they look good Mum?? *wink*

And that's not all I've had on the go. I finished a redwork stitchery, to turn into a peg bag. I need to buy some ric-rac before I can finish it.
I need to get onto some Christmas gifts, but I won't be talking about them until AFTER Christmas! LOL!! Mind your business!!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Christmas Cookie Bag

My local quilting group are making goody bags for our Kris Kringle exchange in December.

Two members are currently long-distance and need to see how to make the Christmas Cookie Bag, so I am going to show them here, but you could use the instructions too if you like it!!

First, cut out 2 circles (trace around bread and butter plates) of a foam placemat or template plastic or discarded x-ray film, and cut 4 circles of wadding the same size.

Sandwich each plastic circle between 2 pieces of wadding and glue in place. Then glue a small square of fabric into the centre as shown in the picture (you can fussy cut a nice picture if you like). The fabric will show in the yo-yo "hole". You only need to stick a picture on one side of each sandwich.

Next, cut 2 circles of fabric by tracing around dinner plates. Fold in a 1/4 inch seam allowance and using a hand-sewing needle and double thread use a gathering stich to make 2 really large yo-yos. As well as a knot use a back-stitch to anchor the beginning of the gathering. Before you gather the entire circle slip in one of the sandwiches so it is encased. I used stitches about 8mm long. If you use really small stitches the hole in the centre is really big.

Next, trace around a saucer to give 10 small circles of fabric to make the handle. The suffolk puffs (yo-yos) can be all one fabric, or 2 fabrics alternating etc. Make 10 suffolk puffs for the handle.

Slightly overlap the puffs and slip stitch together.

To make the gusset, cut a rectangle of plastic or placemat 13.5in x 2in. Cut 2 rectangles the same size of wadding and glue into a sandwich with the plastic in the middle.

Cut a rectangle of fabric 6in x 15in. Fold it around the plastic sandwich and glue to hold in place, then stitch securely.

Glove stitch (or could use a whip-stitch) the gusset around one large suffolk puff, then attach the other side.
The handle is attached by sewing all the way around a puff to the gusset on each side.

I haven't made the gusset yet, so I can't tell you whether the assembly is easy or not. The puffs have been easy, but I spent nearly 2 hours on it at quilting last night, and it probably needs nearly another 2 hours.

It's not something you would want to make for every friend you have at 4 hours a pop. Still, they are so cute! I will post photos of all the different fabric choices later on.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Busy bee

Well, it's been a while since I finished something, but here are two Cotton Country cushions!! I made the cushion back with an envelope opening - the instructions were to sew the opening closed, but I like cushion covers to be washable. I made one for me, and one to donate to the Bowls Club special Christmas fundraising effort (a wheelbarrow full of stuff).

I have stuffed Mrs Perkins. She still needs eyes, mane, tail, ears and horns.

I was a very busy bee!! I also finished the applique on the French Collection quilt. YAY!! I am looking forward to seeing it quilted. I am posting it to Mum with instructions for quilting.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Red Delicious

I haven't had a finish for a while. Doesn't that get a little depressing? I won't let it get to me!! I am nearly finished 3 projects. As long as they are done before Christmas I'll be fine.

I want to finish the Cotton Country cushion (the stitchery is finished, I need some ric rac), the French Collection quilt (needs quilting), and Mrs Perkins.

I just heard about Esther Aliu's FREE mystery BOM: Red Delicious. It is suitable for redwork or applique, and can be made entirely from red scraps in your stash (well, that's the idea, but it could be any colour really). You have to be quick! This month's pattern will disappear on the 15th of next month when the next one is posted!! I can't wait to get started!! (After the 3 finishes of course!!, and the other mystery quilt.... and.. No! That will do!).

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Mrs Perkins

Yesterday I started to make this little guy... well, the pattern's name is "Mrs Perkins", so maybe it's not a guy!!!

I've left my stuffing at work, so that will have to wait until tomorrow. In the meantime, it was soooo quick to make the body (so far), I might have to make another one!!

Saturday, 15 November 2008


I planned to post yesterday, but Hallelujah! there was a storm with lightening, thunder and that wet stuff, what's it called again? Oh yeah, rain.

We have been on tight water restrictions for the last four years and it still hasn't rained at least the average expected rainfall in our district.

We lost a modem and answering machine another time during a storm - lightening hit the phone connection at the pole on our naturestrip!!! So, we make sure we turn as much as possible off during a storm.

I have nearly finished all the applique for the French Collection quilt. I have leaves for one corner to go, and the blue parts of the fleur de lys for another 3 corners. I should get that done tonight. The stems took a while, but I am really pleased with the contrasting colour when compared to the leaf fabric.

This is the corner I have completely finished.

I've got a virus - I've had the sore throat, headache and some nausea over the last few days. Now it is the congestion. I need something to make me feel good. Is it chocolate? (Yes, but not this time...) Know what? I just have to start making something new!! I'll show you what I get up to tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Old news

Yesterday's post was old news! It turns out that was last month's magazine. Down Under Quilts also sent me a copy of the latest issue (126).

This time the featured quilts are Star Quilts. Andrea's precisely pieced blue and white quilt is featured in the article. (It won second prize at Kilmore Kwilter's blue and white challenge last month).

This is the quilt I made with the Jane Austen fabric. Do you remember I mentioned walking into a nearby quilt shop and seeing the fabric then phoning my friends?? I walked out with some of each bolt!!! Andrea, Rosie, Sandra and I divided up the fabric.

Jane Austen's quilt is made of pieced diamonds. That's why I wanted mine to look like it had diamonds in it (it doesn't, they are triangles). Sandra has appliqued in the centre of large diamonds, and Andrea has made the centre of her lonestar. Rosie decided to make four-patches with applique along the top. She is yet to complete the applique.

This is not the end.. there will be more in print later on. It's very exciting!!! VBG.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

In print

It's amazing enough to see your name in a respected quilting magazine, but to have a photo of your original quilt take up almost an entire page... !!! Down Under Quilts periodically ask SCQuilters if they have made quilts within a particular theme.

Here is my Dick and Jane quilt photographed for a kids quilts feature article. After designing several quilts on EQ this is the design I liked best. Mum quilted tricycles with streamers hanging from the handlebars all over it.

Andrea also has a quilt in the same issue!! These are 1930s fabrics in an Irish Chain format, but the large squares are not plain - they have patterned fabric in them.

French Collection quilt update: I am appliqueing the stems on the 4th corner. So, after that there are 3 corners to finish the fleur de lys, then leaves to go onto the stems.

Monday, 10 November 2008

It's still a mystery...

I finished the 22 heart blocks yesterday. They really look good. I love the zinger fabrics (aqua and dark aqua) I chose before I started the quilt and before I knew where they would go.

I am not so sure about the way my large bunny print has been cut into small pieces, and the small prints have stayed mostly whole in large pieces. It seems a little unbalanced.

So, when I laid out all the blocks on the floor yesterday (no, I don't have a design wall... yet!!) I didn't think the suggested layout was right for my fabrics.

I did a litle tweaking, and here is a section of it!!

So, overall the quilt layout is still a mystery!!! (to you anyway)...

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Last week's mystery

Boy, I have been so busy I haven't sat down at my sewing machine for over a week! That's not good when you are trying to keep up with weekly sewing instructions for a Mystery Quilt!

Here is a photo of last week's sewing step.

I am making 22 of these for a single bed sized quilt. Here are nine blocks half-made. I am still in the middle of stitching the rest.

I am still plodding along on the French Collection applique. Nothing new to show yet.

A new Noah's Ark block is up - penguins, so I need to work on that.

I finished stitching the redwork picture for the Bronwyn Hayes cushion.

I guess that's my current list of 4. As soon as I have finished the cushion and the French Collection quilt I need to start a wedding quilt for early January.

Seeing these goals "in print" has helped me to prioritise. Okay! Back to work for me!!!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Pretzel Party time!

Well, I really opened a can of worms with my Gee's Bend post. I am sorry if anyone Sydney-siders saw it as a put-down. That was not my intention. It is my unbiased view as a visitor to Sydney.

Repeating myself, my main points were: I loved the quilts, but I would have planned my day differently if I was to do it again.

I have been so busy! I've hardly put a stitch in! Well, ok. That's not quite true. I have been working away on the French Collection applique but it looks pretty much the same as in the last post. When it looks different I will share.

I hastily prepared some stitching last weekend to take to Sydney to do at the airport. I couldn't take the Noah's Ark stitchery (see side bar) I have started - I am waiting for a new block to appear on Lynette's blog. I really just wanted one colour thread. So, I traced this off.

Actually, I traced 2 off (a little over-excited to say the least). I didn't want to run out of stitching!! As it turns out, Rosie was even more eager and she was stitching before the plane even took off. Her needle was confiscated (although she got it back as we left). That has never happened to either of us before. I suggested we wait until we are in the air next time, when they are too busy selling cups of tea.

Anyway, I thought I would make this cushion.

It's from this book by Bronwyn Hayes (who publishes under the name Red Brolly), an Australian designer. I've already stitched all the pictures for the quilt - I did them years ago. The book was re-printed this year.

I bought this pattern. Isn't it gorgeous? It's supposed to be for a Jelly Roll, but I would be just as happy if I found 40 strips 2.5 inches wide from my stash. What a fun name! Pretzel Party!!!

I hope to have some real progress to show over the weekend. I've got to do this week's sewing on the Mystey Quilt yet!!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Do you, punk?

I am working away on the French Collection quilt. The quilt top is now entirely pieced.

I am adding applique to each of the quilt corners. First some vines, then a fleur de lys, then leaves on the vines.

I need to go and iron on vines for more corners so I have some stitching to take to quilting tonight.

Oh, and btw, I entered a Melbourne Cup Sweep and my horse won!! YAY me!! I won $13!! That might be the end of my run - Kenny Rogers tickets last week, second prize in the raffle at bowls on Saturday ($5) and now 1st prize in the Sweep! No, I'm still lucky. Ask yourself, do you feel lucky? Well, do you punk?

Monday, 3 November 2008

The quilts of Gee's Bend - a trip around the world

Yesterday Rosie and I flew interstate to see the quilts from Gee's Bend. I got up at 4:45am and we were on a 7:15am flight.

Being interstate almost felt like being in another country. I am not kidding! The public transport system was so different! We could catch a train from the airport, but there is an additional fee for entering or exiting at the airport terminals. Unlike my capital city (Melbourne), where one buys a ticket all day for all forms of transport for about A$12 - in Sydney one pays A$31.40 for an all day ticket! We couldn't believe it!! Or, one pays a particular amount for each station travelled. We paid A$20 each for return trips on the train. Ridiculous. We must have been paying for all the fare evaders, as the ticket security was pretty lax except at the airport station. (And in Melbourne, on a Sunday it's a Super Saver price of A$2.90 for an all day ticket!!)

double decker trains!!!

There were no rubbish bins. I asked at the station where I could find a bin. I was told "We have no rubbish bins". I said "Where do I put this?" (indicating rubbish). He said "In a bin, when you find one". Ridiculous. What's the problem? Do they think there will be fires or explosions in the bins? Or will people pick up the bins and throw them? I felt like I was in India, but I knew if I threw my rubbish on the ground I would be fined. I left the rubbish on the train!!! (Naughty I know, but they must be paying someone to do that).

Rosie and I planned to spend the day at the "Quilt Indulgence Festival" with exciting workshops, International quilt displays and a quilt market.

When we go to the Melbourne shows, we spend all day walking around the shops, free workshops or demonstrations and the quilt exhibits. We come home tired but full of inspiration and excitement.

We mistakenly thought we would need just as much time in Sydney. We were there for 2 hours and we were ready to come home. The International quilt displays really were fabulous. The US quilts from Gee's Bend (imagine a quilt made from old jeans on sale for US$13,000 - that's about A$26,000 at the moment!!!); and 30 of the best quilts published from a French magazine, a Japanese magazine, a New Zealand magazine and Down Under Quilts (Australian) magazine. One of my quilts was selected to tour Australia with this international exhibition.

We have been studying the quilts of Gee's Bend for a few years now. They are inspiring. Really large scale quilts. Most of the quilts at the exhibition were made from old clothes, fabric samples and furnishing fabrics.

After we perused the quilt exhibition we wanted something to eat. There really wasn't much to eat at this racecourse. The meat pie I bought was awful. I took it back and got a sandwich. The catering was bad. We must be spoiled in Melbourne. However, we met a nice quilter in the food queue and ate lunch with her and Annette Gero. Rosie said we must have stuck out like "dog's" as the only other quilters there (more about that later).

Annette is releasing a new book later this month. It will feature photos of hundreds of quilts from her personal collection - all early Australian historical quilts. The book will feature 29 quilt patterns with instructions and it weighs 2.2kg. Annette picked my brain for a few ideas, and I showed her my quilt in a magazine she had bought (I've got "street cred!!").

After that, there was nothing to do. Why? There were 5 stalls in the quilting side: one was Down Under Quilts magazines, two sold sewing machines; one sold fabric paints; and one was a general craft shop with a little bit of fabric.

The rest was scrapbooking and card-making. All the signs outside the venue were for papercrafts. We were so disappointed. (We couldn't care less about those crafts).

If we had known we only needed 3 hours at the venue, we would have still gone to Sydney. But, we wouldn't have caught such an early plane, and we would have made arrangements to visit other things in Sydney (I didn't really want to pay another $20 for train tickets if I didn't know where I was going).

So, did I have a good time? Yes. We saw what we went for (the Gee's Bend quilts), lunched with Annette Gero, bought the DVD, and I bought the first book (they sold out of the second book - they only brought 6 with them - how dumb can you get?). We had the cake, but we missed out on the icing.

Was it worth A$220 in airfares and trains (excluding travel to and from the Melbourne airport), food etc to see the quilts? I'm not sure. Maybe I could have bought both the books and the DVD and stayed at home satisfied. Maybe not.

LATER: It's not just me! I found this blog post by Ruth. See what she has to say. I really can't believe how poorly attended the exhibition was. I believe it was poorly advertised. The event is now organised by a publishing company who advertised only in their magazine. There are around 5 other magazines aimed at quilters published in Australia - the event was not advertised in them.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

My favourite things...

I got a really funny email. It had a picture of Julie Andrews (she is around aged 70 now, I can't remember exactly). She had sang an alternate version of My Favourite Things - it was all about ageing.

Well, borders on stitchery could easily be added. It's one of my favourite things, at the moment, because it's all the quilt-making I have achieved in the last few days!

I have finished the last embroidered stitch on the final center stitchery block. I hadn't done it because I ran out of that colour. It's done now!

These poor blocks look a little bit funny without their buttons, especially the lavendar.

I can't wait until I finish the whole quilt!! I will work on it all day Monday (holiday)...