Sunday, February 27, 2011

Me-Made-March '11

I'm going to do something crazy.

Sneak peek - blouse

'I, Michelle from Buttontree Lane, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-March '11. I endeavour to wear something I have made or refashioned each day for the duration of March 2011'

I'm joining in with So, Zo ... What do you know? to wear something I've made every day in March. It's a big call, but I think I might be OK. Most of what I wear to work, and on weekends, is me-made. If I get desperate, I can always wear a me-made brooch, but hopefully it won't get to that.

I have a few refashioning projects in mind which I am now motivated to get stuck into. I also have quite a few finished sewn projects that I haven't shared here. And I may not share them here, but I will be trying to post a photo each day over at Flickr.

So what about you? Are you keen to be Me-Made this March?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My creative space - the Tequila Sunrise Quilt

Tequila Sunrise linen quilt

The design is in my head and the fabrics are laid out on the spare bed.

Thsi quilt will be made from red, yellow and orange scraps of screen-printed fabrics, left over from when I used to make project bags for a living, plus some extra special pieces of fabric.

This quilt will be big. I was going to put it together randomly, but now I have this mighty design wall in my sewing room, I might as well make use of it.

More creative spaces in cocktail-inspired colours over at Kirsty's.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My creative space - a workshop in colour

Right now, my creative space is my new quilt design wall, and the quilt I designed at a workshop yesterday. It is sitting in my sewing room, nicely transplanted from the Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably workshop I attended yesterday. And how did I get to this stage?

Stage 1

It starts with diamonds in "one colour". I decided to fly outside my comfort zone, and chose green. Lots and lots of green. At this point, I was adding diamonds as I cut them, and putting them on my design board. There was no set order - I just stuck them up there, and stood back to see what I had.

Here's Kaffe helping Beryl out with her quilt. I love the oranges and yellows.

Kaffe Fassett

Kaffe and Brandon would walk around the room, making comments and changing out diamonds for ones they felt looked better. The used a "reducing glass" (you can get the same effect through your camera view finder) to see which fabrics worked, and where you might have built a "picket fence" to stop your eye flowing down to the bottom of the quilt.

Stage 2

By the time I got to this stage, I knew I had a green quilt, and I wasn't too happy about it. I wanted some colour, so Brandon and I went shopping for some. This photo shows the fabrics lined up against the board to assess the possible effects of them. I know, orange, right?? I was shocked when Brandon suggested that.

Stage 3 - shopping time

And here we have the new colours added in, but I still wasn't happy with a big green "strip" in the middle.

Oranges and pinks added

So Brandon did some rearranging and some suggesting (often Kaffe would come and disagree, which goes to show just how subjective colour and fabric choice can be).

Brandon rearranging some diamonds

And eventually I lost the big green band in the middle, ended up with less of a green leaf salad, and more a mixed vegetable salad with interesting ingredients! Eventually it was time to select an inner border.

Auditioning outer borders

I know, this one makes my eyes bleed too, but Kaffe and I selected another cooler fabric for the outer border and it totally changes the effect. I'm really happy with the choices.

Kaffe then spent time at the end of the day critiqueing everyone's quilts. This part was so interesting. He liked mine, and how it had evolved from green into a zany and exciting quilt. Brandon said I was a fabulous woman. I blushed.

Kaffe critique

Kaffe critique

Kaffe Fassett workshop quilts

And then at the end of the worshop, Brandon and Kaffe showed off a few of their quilts.

Show and Tell

This one will be in their next book. It's been photographed against a red barn in either Sweden or Denmark. I can't remember. And it's made with only three fabrics. Love it.

Latest quilt

And then I acted like the total Kaffe Fassett fan I am and had a photo taken with him while he was signing our books. It's not very in focus, but the quilt behind us (in focus!) is fabulous! (I may well frame this photo and hang it in my sewing room.)

Kaffe and Michelle

It was such a great day. I learned so much from Kaffe and Brandon, and I think this might take my quilts to a much more exciting, colourful level! They were just delightful and very charming, and so positive.

(I want to sew my quilt together, rather than have it on a design wall, but I managed to pick up a nasty headache and neck pain from concentrating too hard at the workshop and I am confined to the un-comfort of a sofa. No sewing. No work. No nothing.)

For more colourful creative spaces, you can head to Kirsty's!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Beautiful bouquet

The perfect bouquet

And they smell exquisite.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My creative space

I feel like I'm on the home strait.

After almost six years, lots of pricked fingers and a certain amount of mandatory ennui for a hand stitched quilt this size, I'm almost there.

Hexagon quilt

Just 9 full blocks, 14 half blocks and a whole lot of sewing together to do. My kit is ready for action - just one block a night is all I'm asking of myself.

Hexagon quilt

Then there is the basting, and the quilting by hand to be done.

But let's just concentrate on the quilt top for now, shall we?

For more creative spaces, head to Kirsty's place.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I've been a quilter since 1997 when I did a beginners' class and fell in love with it all.

I loved the fabrics, using colour to manipulate the senses, and hand quilting.

I didn't love the precision required to be a quilter, the fact my points never seemed perfect* and the resulting back ache that happened when I sat at a sewing machine too long.

Nursery Rhymes for Hugo

When you become a quilter, you just want to make quilts, whether they be big or small, for yourself, or others, or for your loungeroom wall. You don't need to enter quilt shows to win prizes, but to show other people that you don't have to be perfect to be a quilter. You find yourself constantly inspired by colour combinations, fabrics, designers and other quilters. You are always learning, always wanting to make something beautiful. I love that about quilting.

Susan's quilt

As a quilter, you adapt. Since I started quilting, I've experimented with the palest of pastels.

The temptation was too much

And the boldest of colours.

Cobargo Square

And lots of Japanese prints.

Japanese Stepping Stones

Zen Garden #2

But over the last couple of years I have only made a couple of quilts, even though I've been working on the Monster of the Deep, also known as the 2010 Canberra Quilters Exhibition Quilt, since March 2005.

Hand sewing

It might be finished by August 2011. Yes, I missed the 2010 exhibition.

I wanted to get back to quilting. I missed my quilting friends, and I missed guild meetings. So I went back last week. And I've already thrown myself in the deep end with a Kaffe Fassett quilt from a book I borrowed from the guild library.

Kaffe Fassett quilt I am going to make

I have the fabric. All I have to do is remember how to do foundation piecing, and I'll be on my way.

* as for those perfect points, I learned to get over myself and just enjoy the process. Best lesson learned ever.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Switching off


Due to a hefty five minute storm last night and a few trees falling on power lines around our suburb, our electricity went off a little after midnight. Although there were promises from ACTEW that it would be back at 10 am ... 2 pm ... it eventually didn't get put on until after 4 pm.

I wasn't going to complain about not having power for 15 hours. My parents were without it for more than 2 days thanks to Yasi, and my girlfriend's parents still have no power, no landline, no mobiles, and a shed wrapped around their house. But I had plans today which included cooking, stewing, sewing, washing and ironing, so what was one to do? I got inventive, that's what.

Cutting out

I cut out a dress and a skirt so they were ready to sew when the power was switched back on.

Cutting out

We went out for coffee and cake in the morning, and then chips and beer and pear cider in the afternoon.

Chips and pear cider

I went fabric shopping for not one, but two quilts. TWO! Out of control!

Fabric selections for two Kaffe Fassett quilts

Fabric selections for two Kaffe Fassett quilts

And I managed to do a little gardening.


I harvested the last of my potatoes!


And I have to say that having no electricity forced a certain kind of ingenuity in how we spent our Sunday. We are not a pair who tend to be comfortable doing nothing, but by not having a sewing machine, computer, stove, microwave, washing machine and music, we were still able to have a really lovely and productive Sunday. It was, dare I say it, relaxing. Except for the fact I really missed my morning coffee and we were worried about food in our fridge turning, it wasn't such a bad thing to have happen to us. I think switch-off Sundays (figuratively speaking) might be a frequent thing in our house from now on.

Except for the coffee. There must be coffee.