Sunday, December 11, 2005

BOM update

There are still a few months to go on the Mystery Block of the Month class I'm doing with Cathy Stevenson, but here is an update.

Mystery Block of the Month Mystery Block of the Month Mystery Block of the Month Mystery Block of the Month Mystery Block of the Month Mystery Block of the Month Mystery Block of the Month

Summer bag

I have been doing a little quilting lately, but mostly I have been making quite a lot of clothes to update my summer wardrobe. I also needed a summer bag, so last night I made one with some gorgeous Amy Butler "Ginger Bliss" and "Charm" fabric.
Summer bag

This is originally a
Simplicity 4632 pattern, but it barely resembles the actual pattern. Instead of tying the handles, I made them shorter and squared them off, overlapped them and then sewed a vintage button to bring the handles together.
Detail Summer bag

The handles were also too wide and potentially would make my shoulder too hot, so I folded them back towards the top of the bag and then sewed them down with a decorative top stitch.

I also included a mobile phone pocket and another pocket in the lining, plus I inserted some stiff iron-on vilene in the base of the bag to give it some shape.

And may I just say that I am totally in love with Mettler 100% cotton thread for patchwork? Not in love with the price ($4.50 for 150 m) but it gave such a lovely finish on the bag, particularly with the top stitching. I'd never used it before, but bought it because Gutterman didn't have the colour I was after.

Monday, October 3, 2005

New books

Kinokuniya Bookshop in Sydney is, in my opinion, one of the best sources of books in the city. Plus they have a wicked Japanese section which appeals to the craft, quilting and Blythe parts of my soul.

On Saturday, your correspondent went a little crazy.
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This book is all bags, and written in Japanese. Don't worry - there are some good diagrams so you don't get completely lost, plus photographic "step-by-step" guides for making two of the more complex bags. It seems a few people are blogging about making the bags from this book as well. The best bags aren't on the front cover!

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This book has been a favourite of a lot of Blythe lovers for some time. I think it might be Christina's fault, as she makes the most amazing little animals by hand, amongst other things.

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And finally, a purchase I had resisted for some time, only for the reason that I thought it was more for beginning quilters. Once I had the book in my hands though, I saw this was not so. I'm still reading it, but it has some theories about design that I like. People are blogging about making quilts in this book as well, it seems.

Sunday, October 2, 2005


Here's the quilt I made for friend Susan's birthday.

When it came to picking a colour, I had a mental block. Another friend told me she loved blue and hated clashing colours, so this quilt is made from blue Yukata offcuts (the middle squares) and blue, purple and *orange* batiks for the frames.

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I made the quilt back in clashing colours just to be objectionable. Susan is an trade union friend, so I think she understands.

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Thursday, August 4, 2005

Ta dah!!

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And here is my entry for the creative clothing bag competetion, using the theme "A walk on the wildside".

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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Loops and swirls

Let's be honest - machine quilting is not my favourite thing to do in the world. I feel like Steve Irwin wrestling an enormous crocodile as I feed 3 layers of fibre through a machine which always seems reluctant to cooperate.

Oh to be Hermione Granger and able to wave a magic wand, mutter Quiltus expectra! and have the quilt quilted to order!

Given that I am a mere Muggle, I got the machine out and made a start tonight. Two-thirds of the embroidered blocks are now done, and I expect all the embroidered blocks to be done by the end of the night.

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I'm trying not to get too excited - I've barely made a dent in the whole quilt.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


The basting. It is done.

Procrastination (AKA Canberra Quilt Show 2005 entry)

I have been off work with a bad cold for the last 3 days. Before that, I was in Melbourne for a week for holidays.

My 2005 show quilt top has been finished for over a month. But it is still not quilted. Nor even basted...

So with a tissue shoved up each nostril, I just taped my backing, batting and top to the floor. That exhausted me so much I needed a cup of tea and a lie down.

Maybe it will get basted today...or not... I have until the first week of August to get it quilted, bound, labelled and delivered.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Plain and Fancy

This winter's uniform for home is Bonds tracksuit pants, baseball top and hoodie. But the tops are too plain.

No longer, thanks to designs from Sublime Stitching! This is the poodle one. I have another in progress - a grey marle shirt which will have Vespas on it.

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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Everything you wanted to know about hexagons but were too afraid to ask

I have had a lot of people email me and ask me about my twisted hexagon quilt, in particular the papers I use. The easiest and most cost effective use of your time is to get them already printed up, and all you have to do is cut on the line! I get mine from and I get both the 2 inch hexagons and the 2 inch long half hexagons.

I can't imagine tracing hundreds of half hexagons carefully onto card. I'd much rather be sewing!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Let's ditch that last idea, shall we?

That last idea for my 2005 quilt show quilt was just too grand, and just too large.

Meet the REAL 2005 exhibition entry.
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It's a Block of the Month called "Pleasures of the Garden". Until last Monday, I had all the blocks embroidered except the large centre one. I finished off the embroidery, cut out the sashing, sewed together, added my own (bigger) border, and voila! We have a quilt!

I was going to hand quilt it ... but alas my neck has been giving me grief, so I shall machine quilt it in a couple of weeks time.

Friday, June 3, 2005

I must be in a manic phase

Until 9pm last night, I didn't have an entry for the Canberra Quilt show this year. I was at the Canberra Quilters meeting, and we were getting reminder after reminder about having our forms and photos in within 2 weeks. I had a couple of UFOs I could have finished, but neither were good enough in my opinion to be exhibited.

And then at 9pm I won a prize in the raffle. This is incredible enough - I've never won the CQ raffle before. Normally all those I bring as visitors do, though. So I selected a pack of 30 x 10 inch Jane Sassaman (mostly) squares, and sat back down in my seat. And started thinking.

I hate brainwaves. They always hurt.

By the time I drove home, I had a quilt drafted in my head, using these 10 inch squares. I designed it on paper, planned a Friday afternoon off and a bus trip to the local quilt shop, and then I was on my way to a fitful sleep dreaming of framed squares.
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The fabrics on the left are the squares I won last night. The fabrics on the right are the ones I bought as potential frames for the squares on the left.

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Of course I have to find time to make this quilt top in time for the photo and entry form to be entered - it should only take me a day or so, but the husband thinks I am spending the whole weekend with him in the garden. So I'm planning an allnighter tonight. If I'm asleep in bed all day tomorrow, I won't be able to garden, will I?!

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Canberra Quilt Show entry - 2010

I am so pleased with myself - I have managed to get the width of the hexagon quilt established. It is slightly bigger than normal double bed sized, but this is so I can use it on a queen sized bed if I wish.

I think I have a third of the quilt done - maybe a little less. Either way, I am thrilled to have come this far in a little under three months!

Hexagon quilt at June 1 2005

In other news, I have a flex day today. It would be nice to get the top for the 2004 Mystery BOM finished. We'll see... I'm still in my pyjamas. Maybe I'll have another cup of tea first.

Mystery BOM - month 2

Here is block 2 of the mystery block of the month. This time I did the bias strips without the iron on tape, and even though it was a lot more awkward with using pins to secure the bias, I found the result a lot less stiff and overall a lot easier to sew without the thick iron on tape.

The third class is next week. I don't think I have ever had my homework done on time before!

BOM - month 2

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Mystery BOM - month 1

I have started the 2005 version of Cathy's Mystery BOM class. Miraculously, I finished first block before I started the second class! Unheard of!

I'm not needleturning this time - with making the hexagon quilt at the same time I have enough on my plate! I'll still needleturn the bias stems, but the rest will be vlisofix and blanket stitch!

Here's block 1, and also a sneak preview of block 2. I decided to do this in 1930s reproduction colours, just like my hexagon quilt.

Block 1

Sneak preview of block 2

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Mad addiction - continued

Those twisted hexagons I showed you last month? The five year project? Well, at this rate it'll be done in time for the Canberra Quilters' exhibition in August 2006.

This is what I have joined together - I have another four ready to sew on. Most of the fabric is cut out, and I have no idea how many twisted hexagons I have to make!

Hexagon Quilt

My apologies for all the shadows - I won't take the photo late in the afternoon next time!

Purple-eyed scary fellow

I haven't been able to participate in Loobylu's "Month of Softies" for the last 2 months, so I decided I'd better do something this month before I got out of the habit! The theme this month was "Recycled Monster". This purple-eyed fellow was made at midnight - very appropriate! The green wool felt is revoltingly stiff and unsewable stuff which was about to get binned in my sewing room clean-up, and his jaunty scarf was made from a very old scarf of mine. He is only a little monster- about 3.5 inches tall.
Recycled Monster

I actually think he wants to be a teddy bear.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Not your gramma's embroidery

Oh Lordy - Jenny Hart has some new patterns out on Sublime Stitching. The scooter one is definitely going straight to the shopping cart!
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You can see the rest here:

I bought two of her patterns when I was in Portland, Oregon 18 months ago. They truly ROCK.

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Almost quilting

At Canberra Quilters we have two big heavy boxes, built over 10 years ago, which people stand on to hold the quilts. They were painted white but looked very scuffed and tired, so Wilma and I took one each to paint and decorate. It's our final President/Vice-president challenge - but also farewell gift to CQ as we have both resigned from the committee.

I think Wilma is at an advantage though - she has children!

I painted the whole box Patriot Blue (it is no accident that my spare room was painted the same colour on the same day...), designed a 9-patch quilt block on the top, and painted applique designs by Cathy Stevenson on the front and back of the box.

Unless there is housepaint and a wall involved, I do not consider myself a painter. But I kinda like how this turned out.
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Thursday, March 24, 2005

My other addiction

I started a Mystery Block of the Month class with Cathy Stevenson in April 2004. I wasn't able to attend the final two classes, so I have been winging it a little. Yesterday I was 3 applique and 3 pieced blocks behind. Today, thanks to holidays and no desire to renovate my hallway, I just have to finish sewing up the pieced blocks, and I can start piecing the centre panel.

I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out.
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I'll post the finished top in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

New addictions

Whilst at the SCQuilters retreat, I did a class with Anne Munro on twisted hexagons. It was part of a challenge to myself to learn three new things on retreat (and this was the third thing).

By rights, I should hate it. It requires me to draw on fabric, use scissors (and not a rotary cutter), baste around card stock shapes and then whip stitch in place whilst fighting the stiff pieces of fabric and card which have a mind of their own. Plus it takes FOREVER to even get to the stitching stage.

Somehow though, I have become very addicted. I think it might be because I have the perfect combination of delicious fabric and a pattern I love and which makes me go "a-ha" everytime I join a block to another. I get to hand stitch in front of the telly and my husband thinks I am spending "quality time" with him. On the weekend, I sat in the garden drinking copious cups of tea, cutting enough fabric to make 29 twisted hexagons. I stopped cutting because I ran out of fabric. So I started sewing.

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This quilt will be double bed sized, and is for the double bed I don't own, for the spare room I don't have, in the house I haven't even bought yet. I've even styled the imaginary spare room around the quilt. White painted cast iron bed, sheer white curtains billowing in the breeze, lime washed floorboards...

I think it's the perfect 5 year project. Let's pray I don't tire of the delicious fabric by the end of it!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Mad preparation for a relaxing weekend

I have been busy these last few weeks making signature squares for the retreat we have coming up in Sydney next weekend. I was told to make 115 signature squares. "Patoohie!" I said "That'll be easy!".

Uh, no.

I got a little lazy - I had a stamp made, but then spent 2 days looking for a fabric compatible stamp pad. And may I say GOD BLESS the person who invented the lazy susan rotary cutting board!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Vintage Catwalk

I have been painting my patio in the stifling heat for the last week, and only have 3 days left of holidays. These last days are to be just for ME. (I tried telling this to the friends who invited themselves over for lunch on Wednesday, but they obviously weren't listening.)

So part of the ME time today was making my contribution to Loobylu's "A Month of Softies" for January. The theme was "Vintage Catwalk" and I only decided on what to do when I was tidying up my sewing area. I came across a Japanese book on making little tiny flat toys - so I used it's kitty pattern. I added a vintage Italian lace flower to her noggin. I'm quite pleased with the result - I have been dying to use the little packet of these lace flowers since I got them, and now the perfect project!

Vintage Catwalk

It is made out of wool felt, has glass bead eyes, vintage Italian lace and is stitched with cotton thread. Size is TINY, but not unmanageable.

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Girls, girls, girls!

Have I ever mentioned my love of Blythe dolls? No?

Oh well, here it is - I love Blythe!! I have 5 girls - Estella, Aurora Australis (aka Rory), Gracie, Blue and Mango.

One of my favourite hobbies lately is making little Blythe outfits. I already make and sell a lot of stripey tights on the Blythe forum. I found a pattern for vintage Skipper "town togs", and decided to make one. Which became 3. With more on the way!

Here's a photo of Mango, Estella and Blue sporting their town togs, the latest thing to be seen in on the Canberra Blythe fashion scene!

Mango, Estella and Blue model their town togs

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Christmas hang up

We won't talk about my Christmas.... let's just say the food was fabulous! So here's my contribution to Loobylu's "A Month of Softies" for December.

I didn't design it - my clever friend Sylvia Frazer did, and I sewed it at one of her fabulous "Stitching by the Lake" days.

Little Felt Stocking

It is made out of wool felt, and is stitched with cotton thread. Size is about 24 sm x 14 cm.

A gift of blue

My Nana passed away in August 2003, but it still feels like only yesterday. She was my Dad's mum, and had 4 children. All 3 boys lived away from Brisbane, but her daughter, Marilyn, stayed in the same city. Eventually Nana sold her old Queenslander in Mitchelton and moved to the southside to be nearer her daughter.

I had bought some old 1930's style transfers of tea cups a the Sydney craft show in June 2004. I started embroidering quilt blocks with them straight away, with absolutely no purpose for any particular finished product. I was on block number 3 when I phoned my aunt one day. She told me that the biggest thing she missed about Nana was the cups of tea they would have every afternoon as Marilyn made her way home from work.

From then on I knew my quilt had a purpose. I surprised Marilyn with it earlier this week when I was in Brisbane. She cried and so did I. And she absolutely loved it. I called the quilt "Blue China Teacups".

Here are some photos. The first is of my Dad and Marilyn holding the quilt.

Dad, Marilyn and the quilt

And this is a terribly blurry photo of a block. All the blocks were different with the exception of two.

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