Sunday, November 29, 2015

FINISHING - Report #2

Well it's been 21 days since my last report. So much has happened in that time, including a second borking of my back (a different part this time). I'm feeling so talented at this back business I just ... can't. Anyway, I'm feeling better every day, although some days have been less than impressive. But occassionally sewing does get done!

Also I've been reading this book by The Minimalists as part of my research into living my life more meaningfully, with less crap. And it's really good. Quotably good. I'm learning a lot about myself and the reasons why I feel so uncomfortable living in a cluttered home and life. So this finishing project has been a perfect "dip of my toe in the water" of minimalism.

Not too much to report on the actually finishing side of things this time - but I have progressed quite a few things too. The first UFO finished is that block from Chester Criswell that I thought I'd lost at the Sydney Quilt Show. I FOUND IT!


And I finished it. Best appliqué of my life, done spectacularly well while sewing under the influence of serious painkillers. Sarah Stubbs is the name of this block. Tick!


A friend and I had booked in do the Suitcase Rummage a couple of months ago. I was a bit touch and go in the days leading up to it as to whether I'd actually make it on the day, but in the end I even felt well enough to sew a few Sunnyboys that were hanging around cut out and ready to sew! We did the Suitcase Rummage, and I made a serious dent in the vintage Pyrex collection and a few other unused things in my house so all up a great day. Yay minimalism!


I also made another project sack for a special request that was very overdue, and managed to work some more on the Final Bags Ever.* Labels? Tick. Batch sewing of handles and tabs? Tick, tick.

And while this wasn't on the UFO list, it was on the essential sewing list. I was attending a wedding - dress code "Elegant Garden Party" (best dress code ever, by the way) - and so I finished that red silk top I wrote about in the last post, and also cut up my old 2011 Christmas frock that was now too big for me, and made it into a skirt.


(Killing myself laughing in this photo because my husband was photobombing while taking forever to walk into the living room (he's had hip surgery - I forgive him for being slower than a snail). Finally he ducked out of view and I could take this photo.)

Now for the "moving slowly, but at least I'm moving" UFOs.


Mary Watkins (from Chester Criswell) is slowly but surely getting there. I reckon if Australia doesn't get bowled out before stumps tonight I might have it close to finished.


The centre section of Anna Brereton is being sewn together! Hallelujah! Long, long way to go on this project, though. And that's OK.

And finally a quilt that a friend and I made for another friend's birthday ... in September. We basted it a couple of months ago, but wrestling a quilt through a sewing machine when you have a back injury is not my idea of smart, or fun. But this morning I started. Just straight lines. I sew 720 inches, and then I stop for a few hours to rest. I'm maybe a quarter done on this. By next update, God willing, it will be finished and back to my friend to bind it.

Hopefully my next update will be quicker than three weeks, and I'll have more to show that is actually finished. This year I've cut right back on the social events I normally get roped into doing leading up to Christmas - so as of 9 pm next Sunday (when my choir has sung its final note at our Christmas concert) it will be nothing but business-as-usual (gardening, housework, working, swimming, the usual friends stuff, and of course sewing in between).

*After more than 8 years making project bags for crocheters/knitters/crafters/storage hoarders, I've decided to finally (!), officially retire. The bags I have cut out are the last bags I will make. I hope to have them all in my online store in the next couple of weeks. I will write a pattern for the project sack, but not before the end of the year. If you want to keep updated on when the bags will go in the store, the best bet is my store's Facebook page.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

FINISHING - Report #1

Two weeks ago I reported that I was determined to finish things that were half-finished or mostly-finished or cut-out-but-not-quite-started.

Two weeks later I have very little to report. Not one to make excuses, I have however been gardening a lot since we got our new vegetable patches. I've started riding to work again in the last couple of weeks which just makes me exhausted and lazy by the time I get home. But riding! YAY! Also back injury rehabilitation takes a lot of spare time - like an hour a day of exercises. Probably gardening is not the best thing for rehabilitation but my physio hasn't complained about it yet!


BUT I do have things to report, even if there are very few of them.


This is Mary Trayner from the Chester Criswell Block of the Month I started a couple of years ago. I think I've made a total of 8 blocks now - and by "think" I mean that I seem to have lost one. I'm sure it's in the spare room somewhere...


It gave me the opportunity to start the next block already prepared with freezer paper - Mary Watkins. She's a bit of fun, mainly because all I can see is the Batman symbol over Gotham City.

IMG_9365  IMG_9361  IMG_9358

I finished three bags for my online store - these were already made and just needed the lining attached and topstitched down. Should have made them much sooner than this - I've already sold two of them. I have more bags cut out and ready to sew up and I'll be making more tonight.


Finally, I finished the skirt, which I am calling The Skirt of Multiple Inappopriate Patterns But I Don't Give a Hoot. The skirt was already made and the lining cut out. All I had to do was sew the lining up, attach it to the skirt, face it, hem both lining and skirt (the skirt all by hand) and add a hook and eye.  Phew! It actually took me longer than I expected but I was so relieved when it was done. Bonus points for really loving it too.

My finishing has to take a bit of a break for the next few days as I now have to make a top to wear with my new skirt (and it's urgent, because not only do I have very few clothes to wear to work, I need this top to wear to a wedding next weekend, along with a skirt I am refashioning from a too-big dress). Once they are both done though, I'll be free to garden to my heart's content finish more things. I must admit it's satisfying to finish UFOs - but it's also frustrating that I ever let it get this desperately bad. I'm on a bit of a minimalist research binge at the moment and I expect there will be some massive changes in this house over the summer.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Nowhere-To-Hide FINISHING Spring Clean

Once the weather warms up and the days lengthen a little, the reality of my unfinished projects come to light and BOY AM I HORRIFIED (each and every year).

I am a list maker. Every evening at work before I got home I write a list for the next day. I write shopping lists. I plan my meal menu each week. But I don't have a list for the UFOs I want to finish, probably because writing it down would be me facing reality. I came back from a mini-break in Far North Queensland a few days ago and went into my sewing room to sew. But for everything I picked up new that I wanted to sew, I was missing a component (not missing - LOST) and I realised then there were a lot of unfinished, mostly made or cut out projects junking up my sewing room. My sewing room was rebelling against my bad habit of starting, and nothing new was going to get started until I got rid of some of the backlog.

I'm sensing a theme in colour and fabric on my design wall. Sheesh.

(Also if I get some projects finished I might have something to put in the exhibition next year).

I've been pulling out my UFOs (which just makes me anxious) and rediscovered my Anna Brereton quilt by @brigittegiblinquilts started at the Berry Quilt Retreat a couple of years ago. Might be time to do a bit more on it. I quite like my version. #annabrer

So this is a very quiet shhhhhhhhh commitment to myself that I will start finishing things. I've made this commitment before and failed each and every time. I have quilts basted and ready to quilt - and because it is a group quilt someone else is lined up to bind it. I have tops unbasted. And I won't be limited to quilts - I have a lot of clothes cut out that have to be sewn up, and bags for my online store as well.

I think I'm going to make the rest of October "finishing month". My sewing room is chock full of half finished or mostly finished projects - including clothes that have been cut out but not sewn. This quilt was started by @redpepperquilts and then given t

See this quilt? I had seven hexagons left to sew on it.  Seven.  Last night I finished the top. Gosh it felt good to say that. Tomorrow I will baste it.

I shall report back. Pinky swear.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Kirsten Kimono Tee(s)

Well goodness me, I wasn't intending to blog today, but here I am sitting at a computer with some photos off my phone and, well, what's a girl to do when she's a bit chuffed but blog?

You see I haven't sewn any clothes since Frocktails back in June. The reason for that is mostly to do with my last post, but also because I've lost quite a bit of weight over the last few months and sewing anything to fit is pointless when you just have to take it in the following month. Taking things in is a royal pain in the butt, and I hate it. Sometimes it's quicker just to make something from scratch.

While I don't actually notice my weight loss on a day-to-day basis (weird, I know), my friends certainly do and I also notice it in my clothes. In winter I wear cardigans and sweaters to work and it doesn't matter if they are a bit big. However skirts falling down around your knees while you're using the photocopier? Definitely an inappropriate time to notice that your skirt is swimming around your hips rather than skimming your waist. We've had a very sudden change of seasons here in Canberra - from a bitterly cold winter to scorching temperatures in just a matter of weeks. Cardigans are definitely OUT. Blouses are in. And while I can take in all my skirts (painful as it is), my beloved collection of cotton tops for work can't be taken in, and no one needs to see that much bra strap as they slip off my shoulders anyway. Basically - I have nothing to wear. Absolutely nothing.

I've had my eye on the Kirsten Kimono Tee from Maria Denmark for the longest time but always worried how it would got over my hips. The other week I just cut the damn thing out and got over my fears. But no sewjo. It returned with a bang on my day off on Friday. Thank heavens I had stuff already cut out.


I neglected to add the seam allowance to the pattern. Ugh seam allowances. I know this pattern is a freebie but I didn't need to read about the seam allowance needing to be added half way through the length instructions! Regardless I pushed on. If it didn't fit now, it would fit in a month or so.

I constructed the whole thing on the overlocker except for the neck top stitching, and bottom and sleeve hems. All together it took me half an hour to have a very wearable top.  Let me repeat that - HALF AN HOUR.

Kirsten Kimono Tee

And then I went and took in another skirt and sewed up a new skirt except for the lining. Totally winning at Friday, I was.

On Saturday I sent the hip patient off to his hydrotherapy and took the time to put on a thousand loads of washing and cut out as much as I could on the kitchen table. I cut out another Kirsten Kimono Tee and two skirts. The tee I actually added a 1 cm seam allowance as well - except I added it to the neckline which I wasn't supposed to do (damn you freebie instructions and my inability to read them! I didn't add the seam allowances to the sleeves or the bottom - I liked the length the way it was). Half an hour before the AFL grand final started, I sewed that tee up (and wore it all day Sunday and boy did I feel schnazzy in it, even if the neck was a little higher than I would have liked).

Kirsten Kimono Tee

Then the weekend got kinda busy and OMG GO NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS I'M STILL SO EXCITED! But the good news is the overlocker is still threaded with white thread and I intend finishing the unlined skirt in the next couple of days before I lose another 2 kilos and it's all over and back in the adjusting pile again. Like with every other fantastic skirt in my collection.

Skirt sewing

I have so much knit fabric in my stash, and no tops, and this is quick and easy and looks pretty nice on. I have plans for a couple of work t-shirts as well, and then maybe I'll move on to another pretty top, like the StyleArc Skye.

Anyway this little sewing jaunt over the weekend has proven to me I don't need anything complex to make me happy. It just needs to be easy, quick and fit well. Anything else is gravy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I pay homage to obstacles | The thin line between honour and horrible

I've had the honour of being my husband's carer for most of this year - originally it was "little things" like doing all the cooking, cleaning, washing, gardening, general picking up and general cheerleading ("Your hip will get better! Give me an S! Give me a C!"), but since he had hip surgery a few weeks ago the 'honour' has evolved to dressing him, putting on slippers, getting him in and out of the car/bed/chair, ordering mobility equipment, driving him to one hour physio sessions that leave me freezing in the car, and worrying. I am a worrier.

Seven garden maze quilt in progress

In the middle of all that, and 7 weeks before he was booked in to have his surgery, I injured my back really badly. I do it every winter - it doesn't take much, I never know how I've done it, but I'm out of action for weeks. But this time I decided to ignore all the crap diagnoses that physios and doctors have given me over the years ("it's just hip bursitis!") so I got a CT scan and x-ray done, and the diagnosis was that it was bad. Permanently bad. If-it-had-been-diagnosed-correctly-8-years-ago-it-wouldn't-be-permanent bad. By the time I got the diagnosis I could no longer feel the sides of my legs, couldn't stand for more than 3 minutes without screaming at the boiled eggs that were supposed to peel themselves faster and couldn't actually walk without being bent over in half. I couldn't take time off work because of something huge happening there so I worked from home for a couple of weeks and took a mega load of opiates and muscle relaxants. I had a few months of husband-caring coming up and all I could think was "how on earth am I going to afford a nurse for a few weeks when he comes out of hospital?" because I certainly wasn't able to look after him any longer.

Luckily I have an excellent physio these days and he has me standing up! I'm stronger! I can feel my legs! I have tummy muscles now, for heaven's sake. On Sunday I walked a 4.5 kilometre bush track for the first time since early June. I can't emphasise what a big deal this was. For someone who normally rides to work every day and likes hiking up bush tracks in her spare time, suddenly being quite physically disabled was horrific, especially when someone else is relying on you.

There have been three things that have comforted me in the last few months: Psalms 23, Hilltop Hoods, and English paper piecing.

Seven garden maze quilt in progress

I've been working on my Seven Garden Maze quilt for over a year now - my dear friend Cathy Miller designed it and gave me the pattern on the condition that I actually make it. So I did. I'm using half inch hexagons as per Cathy's pattern, and it's my favourite size to use. Cathy's original used silk dupion, but I'm using homespun (or as the cool kids say - "solids").

I rarely get more than a 15 minute pause to work on this quilt. It sits beside me on the couch in a tin, and I pick up a little when I get a break. I took it to the hospital and worked on it for the hours and hours he was in surgery, and it stopped me freaking out as much I usually freak out when it comes to hospitals. When he got out of hospital and took lots of naps, I was able to work on it a little longer. If he's watching a TV show he really loves but I don't, I get to work on it some more. Seven garden maze quilt in progress
I had it at this stage by last Friday. But I've been on flex leave the last week (thanks to all those extra hours at work) and he returned to work on Monday so I've been able to finish the first three rows of the fifth maze.

Seven garden maze quilt in progress

I love this quilt and all it represents - getting the mind out of the maze of pain, following a path that is true and right, and friendship. Because a friend made this quilt first and gave me the pattern. And also because friends filled my freezer before and after his surgery and allowed me time to sit with him and stitch instead of standing in pain and cooking dinner from scratch.

Occasionally I think to myself that's it's been a pretty shit year so far in Michelleland. But then I remind myself of the wonderful experiences I've had, the friendships made and built upon, the help provided, the movies seen, quilts made and great food eaten. 

It's actually been a fantastic year.

"You know that pain can hang in the air like cigarette smoke right?

Sometimes trying to live and let go
Is like trying to talk with a mouth full of cinnamon though
I'm trying to crawl out the skin I'm in so
I can see through the eyes of a loved one, eyes of an enemy
Rising above sometimes takes a pedigree
That I fear that I don't possess
And turns hope into hopelessness, but I won't regress
Won't let life wear me down
Staring down as the travellers all rush past
Some part their weary brow
And wear a frown like a handlebar moustache
So I live by forgive and forget
Rather that than to live with regret, it's like living with debt
It's a weight that'll curve your spine
Living with hurt's like serving time"
- Live and Let Go by Hilltop Hoods 
(M. Lambert/D. Smith/A. Burford/A. Newman/M. Stafford)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Finished: The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

This is not the quilt that Michelle made.

The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

This is the quilt that Jan K, Jan M, Tracy H, Tracey B, Ronnie, Margaret, Pam, Merrie, Gerda, Emma, Valetta, Kay, Tina and Michelle made. We are fourteen members of the modern quilting group of Canberra Quilters and we decided to make a quilt to enter into the Canberra Quilters Members Exhibition which was held earlier this month.

The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

And guess what? We won third place in the Group Quilt (Open) category!

The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

So back to the quilt. I suggested at our first meeting this year that we could make a group quilt for the exhibition. We'd made a group quilt before, as an emergency hug for our group's founder when she was unwell, and not only did we produce a fantastic quilt but we worked extremely well together.

We decided to go with the same idea again for this quilt - HSTs are a good option when there are so many of you making the quilt, and it also allowed us to play on the design wall and that's usually the best part. Jenny had sent me a photo for colour and fabric inspiration and so based on that I purchased 22 different colours for the quilt.  There were a lot of pastels in there, much to most of the group's initial dismay, but those pastels worked really well to brighten up the darker maroons, greens, reds and purples.

The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

It was entirely my fault that I didn't get the chance to book in available dates at the Canberra Quilters rooms until May, so in the end only 14 people could join in, and not the 20-odd that had expressed interest. It was all OK in the end though, but I know a lot of people were disappointed they couldn't be there to help make it. (Next year I'm hoping it won't be a nightmare year of household health issues that this year has been and I'll be able to be more organised.)

The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

A couple of the ladies (Gerda and Emma I'm looking at you, you crazy chicks) got creative with the backing. Yes that is a pieced pinwheel back. Yes, that centre point lines up perfectly thanks to Tracy H. And yes, we tried really hard to centre the backing under the centre of the quilt when we basted it and got extremely close!

The quilt top was done in a few hours on a Saturday. The backing was sewn, and binding made, and we had about 6 sewing machines on the go while others cut, matched and trimmed with a couple of BlocLoc rulers that we had brought along with us (I cannot emphasise how wonderful the BlocLoc rulers are - and no they don't pay me to say that!).

The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

We had a lunch break when most of the blocks were sewn - from the far end of the room we kept assessing the placement and then finally one of the ladies got up and starting rearranging at our bidding.


We named the quilt "The Problematic Apricot" because even though we had heaps of people sewing the apricot blocks, a lot of those blocks had to be unpicked as they were just causing too many problems when sewing the strips together. We don't know why - there was no obvious stretch, the fabric wasn't slubby or open weave, and in fact I think the apricot was the most expensive of the fabrics I'd purchased. Jan K and Tracy H did most of the unpicking, saying "This apricot fabric is proving problematic" and the name stuck.

The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

(Here you get to see the full horror of my backyard, a victim of two wounded gardening soldiers - poor yard! These photos were taken over a month ago - it's much worse now!)

We spent an hour one evening a week later basting the quilt, and then I took it home to quilt it. I decided to use my favourite Aurifil 28/2 weight thread in my favourite grey colour 2605. I really do believe the heavier 28 weight adds great definition to the quilt, especially when using thinner cotton batting. Unfortunately half way through quilting it with concentric circles I seriously injured my back (not from the quilting though.). Luckily I could still sit at a sewing machine for periods of 10 minutes and the circular quilting gets much easier (with less wrangling) the further out you go, so the rest of the quilt was done in no time. But I must admit I'm not happy with the quality of the quilting at all and I feel it's the one thing that has let down the quilt. From the back of a galloping horse though, it looks great!

I attached the binding and then handed it over to Tina to stitch down by hand with only 4 days to go until the quilt was due to be handed in. She did the best binding job I have seen in my life. Labels and sleeves were attached the evening before the handover, and we had ourselves an entry!

The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

I'm the very last person you'll find getting competitive in a quilt exhibition, but I was so proud when I got the phone call to say that we had been awarded third place in our category. It was such a great group effort, and we can't wait to do it all again next year.


Pattern: Random half square triangles
Size: 60 " by 60 " (5 inch finished blocks)
Fabric: Various solids by various manufacturers.
Quilting: Concentric circle quilting done by me on my cantankerous Bernina
Thread: pieced with every thread under the sun by various quilters, quilted with Aurifil 28/2 Weight thread colours 2605.
Batting: 100% unbleached cotton
Started: June 2015
Finished: July 2015

Friday, August 7, 2015

Finished: Trip around Honshu

Before you read anything more about this quilt, you need to go and read this post. Go on. I'll make a cuppa while I wait for you to come back.

Trip around Honshu

Read it? You sure? Great. You are now permitted to read on.

Trip around Honshu

I finally finished my Japanese trip around the world quilt.  I called it "Trip around Honshu" because that's what I did last November during some of the happiest few weeks of my life. I tripped.  Around Honshu in Japan.  So cool.

Trip around Honshu

I finished the quilt top in about August or September last year, around the time that my quiltjo went walkabout. I really didn't like this quilt at all. I'd just come off making a bright rainbow of a quilt, all my other UFOs were bright and loud and sassy, and then there was this beast just sulking in the corner, neither of really caring whether I got it quilted or not.

Trip around Honshu

I take a lot of pride in quilting most of my quilts myself (because then they really feel like they are mine, and not a team effort), but the true beasts I tend to send out to a professional because I worked out long ago that professional quilting is cheaper that physiotherapy. I hadn't used the long-arm skills of my friend Gemma from Pretty Bobbins before, except for an emergency hug quilt our modern group had made that she kindly (and very beautifully) quilted, so I thought now was the time to get her help in working out what the heck to do with this monster. I was keen on something geometric but really couldn't decide, and then at the last minute she showed me a wavy edge-to-edge pattern and I was sold. It really is the perfect pattern for this quilt. The thread is King Tut, from memory. It's kind of a variegated dark pink to red colour and it's perfect for this quilt.

Trip around Honshu

As I've already mentioned, I'd stopped caring about the quilt and just wanted it DONE, so rather than piece a back like I usually do, I bought a wideback fabric online and had it sent to Gemma's studio. It was perfect.

I got the quilt back home just before we left for Japan, but I took aged to trim it, then bind it. In the end I finished the hand binding in only 5 hours on the couch (with breaks). That's 8.5 metres of binding. Is that a world record or something? Totally should be.

Trip around Honshu

I have a lot of favourite blocks. A couple of them have the fabric that my beautiful niece had in her wedding invitations - they remind me of her and her wedding day. I also have blocks that have scraps from skirts I'd made. And lots of blocks with fabrics I remember the exact shop in California that I bought them from. But my favourite block is the one made entirely of owls. I bought all the fabrics from Shuji and there are owl squares throughout the quilt, but I figured I had to have at least one entire owl block in there, right?

Trip around Honshu

So there's my quilt, my Japanese scrappy trip around the world. I showed it to Shuji last weekend at the SCQuilters retreat and he loved it and could identify all his fabrics. People at the Canberra Quilters meeting last night loved it as well. From a distance it has a tendency to sparkle with the lighter creamy fabrics, which is what I think people love about it. It's definitely one of those quilts that is full of memories for me. and I am growing to love it, even though it's not really my style any more. But that's totally OK with me. It might even get a turn on the bed this summer.


Pattern: Scrappy Trip Around the World (tutorial by Quiltville)
Size: 84 " x 84 "
Fabric: FQs and F8s of Japanese and American Japanese fabrics, collected since 2003
Backing: Wideback from
Quilting: An edge-to-edge pattern by Pretty Bobbins quilting.
Thread: pieced with Rasant, quilted with King Tut.
Batting: 100% bamboo
Started: January 2013
Finished: 4 July 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

Finished: Maple leaf quilt

All the way back in 2011, there was a little exhibition in New York which displayed over 600 red and white quilts from the one private collection. The event lit up the online quilting world and all over were amazing visions of red and white vintage quilts in cabinets, and hanging from the very tall ceilings. It was just breathtaking (and I so wish I had been there to see it!).

So when The Quilters' Guild of NSW announced that would have a special category in 2015 for red and white quilts, I knew I had to make one and exhibit it! My original plan was for an improv art quilt inspired by a particular favourite work of mine by Piet Mondrian, but even though I sketched it out, bought all the fabric and made several blocks, it just wasn't coming together on the design wall so I scrapped the idea.

In the end I went for a simple design using the fabric and quilting to create the impact, and I am so glad I did. Friends, meet my red and white quilt, which I've named North-West.

No, I did not name it after a Kardashian baby. No, I did not even know who the Kardashians were until recently, and I certainly didn't know there was some poor child named North West or Drain Pipe or something.

(Seriously though, Drain Pipe would be a pretty cool Kardashian name)

I used a simple maple leaf block. Can I just say how much I love this block? I have no idea if there was a faster way of making it, but I worked it out in my head and then realised it needed a stem, so I just flew by the seat of my pants on that too. Everything was made too big and trimmed down to size using my Bloc-Loc ruler (the greatest tool ever invented for quilters).

Anyone who knows me will know that red is my favourite colour. So I thought I had quite a substantial red stash. Turns out I did not. I had red with other colours, but not enough reds that "read as red" which was one of the quilt show rules. So my good friend Bron allowed me to raid her stash one afternoon. I cut enough fabric for four blocks (thanks Bron) and then realised much later that I hadn't cut any stalks out. Wah! But I don't mind embracing the quirky in quilting, so I added some of my favourite ever text fabric by Kumiko Fujita so that each of Bron's leaf stems has a little message.

All 25 blocks of the top came together very quickly, and then my battle was how to quilt it. I've mentioned before that I had stupidly described the quilting as "swirling through the leaves" in the catalogue description, but in the end I didn't have it in my to do circular or curvy quilting. This quilt was screaming out for directional straight lines in a thicker thread, so I used Aurifil 28/2 weight thread in 2024 White.

I started from the middle edge of the quilt and turned the quilt 90 degrees at the middle point and made my way back to the other edge. I was after an arrow in the north-west direction. Sigh. You just can't take the geographer out of the geography department. I echoed this design every half inch. I wasn't intent on perfection and was happy for some wobbles here and there as it gives the leaves more movement, like they are about to blow away (I don't know where they'd blow. East South East perhaps? Down the Drain Pipe?)

This half inch quilting was going really well. It was mindless, I could meditate or listen to music ... and then I realised I was going to run out of thread. And I didn't have any way of getting more of that thread. And also I was really, really getting sick of the half inch thing. So in the last row of blocks at the North and West side, I quilted straight lines an inch apart, intersecting them within the furthest most north-west block (known to non-geographers as the top left hand block).

And the concept worked really well! It definitely prevented the quilt from looking too boring and this is where using the Aurifil thread in the heavier weight definitely paid off.

Here's the back. I don't know why I'm showing you. It's pretty boring but I like how you can see the shape of the blocks through the back.

The label however is not boring. It was provided by the Guild when I got my acceptance letter and I love it. It's based on Maree Blanchard's red and white quilt exhibited at the 2013 show. Maree sadly passed away earlier this year, but she and Bob James still had a beautiful red and white quilt in the show.

As for the show, well what can I say? It was spectacular. I managed to get laryngitis just before the show and I wish I'd been able to ask permission from the quilters there to show you more quilts ina  blog post.

I was lucky enough to do white glove duty in  the Red and White category section on the first day of the show. There were over 110 quilts in that category! I did not intend to dress to match the quilts but there you have it. It was really busy and everyone loved seeing the quilts. If you want to see more of the winning quilts, check them out here.

What else can I say about this quilt other than I absolutely love it? Even though it's been made with my usual simple block design, the fabric selections and the limits of a red and white palette make it quite different to my usual quilts which tend to be a cacophony of fabric and colour. Because of my general dislike of sashing, there is nowhere for the eye to rest, but you also get some interesting secondary patterns in there too. I don't think this maple leaf quilt will be my last, do you?


Pattern: Traditional maple leaf pattern
Size: 60 " by 60 " (12 inch blocks)
Fabric: Scrappy "reads as white" background, and fabrics from my stash and Bron's stash for the "reads as red" leaves
Quilting: Straight line quilting done by me
Thread: pieced with Rasant, quilted with Aurifil 28/2 Weight thread.
Batting: 100% white cotton
Started: January 2015
Finished: June 2015