Sunday, January 31, 2010

How time flies!

Here we are already at the end of January and I doubt if any of us have had time to draw a line under 2009 yet, let alone get ourselves organised for another year. The weather however, has been relatively kind and conducive to sewing, today excepted!

Over the past two weeks I have been working on the centre medallion of Phebe. It is a little lopsided but I am getting there. See what I mean?

I have also been hand piecing a few more octagons for a quilt that was inspired by Kim McLean's Turkish Tiles.

I wasn't sure that I liked the centre of the quilt so designed an alternative for the girls to sew using a pair of plates purchased while on holiday in Turkey and some photos from a book as my inspiration.

From here, the pattern was supposed to revert back and follow similar lines to that of the Kim McLean original. Having just finished the Morrell Quilt I wasn't ready to do more sampler blocks so decided to complete the quilt with a large border of pieced octagons.

In total there will be 736 of them (not that I am counting). And I will end up with a quilt that is completely different to the one we all planned to do.

Merri has completed her version of Turkish Tiles and it is another gorgeous quilt. I think it is just waiting to be sent to the quilter. Hopefully she will post a photo for you all to see.

Enjoy sewing on Thursday girls, wish I could be there

Until next time,


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My version of Phebe

Well to tell you the truth - the thought of making this quilt was a little daunting. After all - I did see Di working on this quilt......her amazing eye for controlled cutting not to mention her enviable fabric stash were given a pretty thorough workout. In my opinion - whatever that's worth, Phebe is Di's masterpiece to date. If you haven't seen a photo of the completed quilt, have a look here. I hope my version will do hers justice. I'm going to replicate the fabric choice where I can just to keep me on track. I try every now and then to go for "subdued" but my natural tendency is for a lot of colour, so I have to keep dragging myself back.

Here it is so far.

A couple of people have already asked about the backing fabric

Wasn't sure about it at first, but I think it's working for me. It is a Windham fabric called Valley Forge. I love their fabrics, what a great addition to the market they have been. This one is adding a lot of texture and dimension to the background which I just love.

Next I added some greens

nice lime ones - my favourite. Two are from the Tanyard creek range, the one with the red dot is from Miss Jump's scrapbag, one is very old, and the second from the top (like a stipple pattern) is gorgeous, but I don't know the name. If you do - please let me know because I think I could buy a bolt.

When I have a quilt at this stage I always think about skeletons, do you? The stems are like the bones that you can hang things on. As you can see - I don't mark my fabric - except for a line where the stems should go. I use an overlay and slip the pieces underneath. How do you prepare your fabrics for applique? I don't wash anything either - yep, I like to live on the edge!

So now I'm waiting for some fabrics to arrive - never seem to have just the one I want, at least that's my excuse for buying some more gorgeous pieces of repro fabrics.

I hope you are enjoying seeing some of these gorgeous things by my quilt buds. Believe me - this is just the tip of the iceburg.

Happy stitching,


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The U.F.O Challenge

My daily exercise routine consists of an hour long walk along the Scotchman's Creek path, sometimes with my friend Nola ( a fantastic bespoke tailor), sometimes with my dearly beloved partner but often I ramble alone. The reason I am telling you this is because the quiet walk is a fantastic opportunity to draw breath and ponder the wonders of the world. Often it is the quiet time I relish to think of what colours will go with what and how I will approach which quilt pattern next. ( some might say I don't have enough to worry about).

This week my thoughts have been of the U.F.O.s that are inhabiting my cupboards and which of them most deserves my undivided attention. Some have not escaped for quite a long, long time. As a result I have "liberated" my Wedding rings quilt which has been languishing in the dark recesses of the cupboard. I just can't bring myself to get it done! I have decided to do another row of rings to make it bigger - it's single bed size just looks too small to me! I was going to do a solid, straight edged border but now think the scallop edge will look more appropriate.

Of course, this got me thinking .............if I have a "few"UFOs, how many would my dearest friends in the Sisterhood have? So here is the challenge. How many would each of us have tucked away in our quilting cabinets? It is possibly just too scary to answer but I thought it seemed like a fun challenge. And of course there are no prizes for the winner with the most ( or least). Not sure if you can measure our enthusiasm for starting new projects in win/loss terms.

The reason for such a challenge is that many of us are attempting to finish projects for the Quilts in the Barn which is later this year. More information on this will follow but, in the meantime, there is a lot to go on with.

Oh, and speaking of projects, I have included a progress photo of my work this far on the Burnt quilt.

Look forward to your tally

Ps. I haven't quite mastered the art of photo shopping will keep trying!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Who remembers...

...the original Mickey Mouse Club? Before Britney (Spears) and Justin (Timberlake)? When our heroes were Annette, Darlene, Bobby and Cubby? Each day had a theme and Tuesdays were always special guest day. The Mouseketeeers would sing "so roll out the carpet and sweep the place clean" as they prepared for their visitor(s).

So where is this leading to? And what has it got to do with quilting?

As you will have read from Di's post, yesterday was the second sewing day of the month for the Sisterhood and I was host. So in between working, I was busy with preparations. I may not have rolled out the carpet, but I did bake a cake and I swept the place clean! And surprisingly the mood of industriousness carried into the sewing group. All of the girls had busy fingers and we manage to complete a considerable amount of stitching - or in Merri's case, a lot of cutting out of little triangles for the Burnt Quilt.

Julie was also working on her version of the Burnt Quilt. It is really quite lovely.....I am sure you will agree.

I continue to work on Phebe and am making steady progress on the centre applique medallion. Some of the pieces are so tiny to sew, particularly the sheep's legs. (What were you thinking when you designed this one Di?)

For those who are also making Phebe, Di and I had a little chat about the sheep's ears. I noticed that while Di has marked them on the pattern they are conspicuous by their absence in her finished quilt. It would seem that as she was making Phebe, Di went for a little drive to check out the Black Suffolk sheep in her area and decided that you cannot really see the ears. She promptly decided to leave them out of her quilt. A VERY wise move when you consider the size of the pieces!

So with the weekend drawing to a close, it is time to say goodbye in true Mouseketeer fashion...
MIC, c you real soon, KEY, y? because we like you ,


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Another Fabulous Secret Sewing Sisterhood Saturday

This is my very first blogging experience, so, please girls be kind! Today the Secret Sewing Sisterhood met at Meghan's for another fabulous day of companionship and stitching. Great food and a surprising amount of stitching done today but best of all, great company.

I count myself so lucky to be a member of such a wonderful group of friends.

I backed up the car this morning and headed for the "burbs". We live on 12 acres in the Upper Yarra Valley in Victoria about 65 km east of Melbourne. Brian and I share the property with our two precious Springer spaniels, Flic and Fletch and 4 very spoilt horses, Isley[pronounced Eye-lee], Robbie, Chelsea and Heidi. The photo at top is of our Illawarra Flame Tree, which looks spectacular in the backyard at the moment . The other photo is of Isley wearing a little "Jane Austen"number!! Don't mind leaving paradise for one of our sewing days.

Now for the "quilty " bits . I was the incredibly lucky recipient of the quilt at the top of the Secret Sewing Sisterhood Page. There were lots of tears that day. What a group. And I had absolutely no idea. I have included a photo of the quilt in it's temporary home hanging behind our bed. It will be hung in our Living Room when it is repainted, can't hang that quilt in a tacky room! [The photo was meant to slot in here.....but as you see it's up the top. I will get the hang of day.]
Now time to get back to stitching. Two new quilts for a class I'm teaching in Ballarat in August and the "Burnt Quilt" that Merri spoke about. Will post pics as I progress.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Secret Sewing Stuff!

Greetings to most in The Secret Sewing Sisterhood...I am new to this side of the "Blogging" game, but could be a very quick learner as I do love browsing those wonderful quilting and patchwork blogs!
There are many very talented people out there designing and stitching away!
Happily I belong to one such group, The Secret Sewing Sisterhood.
It is always a pleasure to meet up with Di, Sue, Meghan, Deb, Julie, Chris, Clare, Ann and Barbara twice a month and sometimes we may even sew a few stitches......most often we are too busy admiring everyone's "show and tell" or planning the next project, or the one after that, or even the one after that!
"Ode To Mary Brown" is one of "those other projects" which I just had to begin. I can't remember who actually put it on "THE LIST", but I do know that Meghan has completed her version. Me?, I just LOVE the process and have lots of projects on the go!! so my "Mary Brown" is slowly taking shape!
I am including a photo of my version, so far........just so you know that occasionally we do stitch!
Standby for future posts and future pics( if I can ever get this down-loading right!) of my progress!
Happy Stitching

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Burnt Quilt

Well, this is an experience girls. My first real posting on a blog! A Luddite no more am I.
Meghan is correct, Thursday was food for the soul. After spending the day with the "gals" I felt I had to start something new so the Burnt Quilt it is.

What is the Burnt Quilt you ask? It is a beautiful pattern designed by Di to use the centre panel shown on my picture. The panel comes from Corliss at Threadbear and was calling for some purpose ( aided by Kerry's beckoning) so Di got to it and designed this lovely quilt It is correctly labelled the Tompins/Gwathney quilt and it's provenance is discussed in Quilts of Virginia.
Of course, Di has included many of her "flourishes" to make a beautiful pattern. The original quilt was used to put out flames after its owners daughter's clothing had caught fire. It was never repaired, hence the nickname. Quilts do serve many tremendous purposes.

Julie is making this at the moment & I have been watching it grow. She is doing a lovely job & her colour selection is great. How could I resist starting this treasure? I hope Julie will share hers with you soon. Di too is starting this and is into the stars for the outer border.
My fabric stash is being raided as we speak auditioning fabrics for the many triangles in the two centre borders. I have many possibilities but think I will stick with the blue, reds, beige, a hint of purple & yellow and of course murky browns. ( the tea dying has begun in earnest). I did audition some greens but not sure about that - what do you all think????????

I must pass on my tremendous shopping experience as well. (Thanks Meghan for the Spotlight info). All the fabrics on my right side of the picture hail from Spotlight for less than $8 per metre. You know my motto, you have spend to save!

I am off to paper piece the first triangle border now, if I can just decide which fabrics........
Good sewing

PS. a few Civil War Bride blocks to go on with.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Soul Food

After a very busy December that left me feeling a little flat it was time to feed my soul. And is there any better way to find nourishment other than spending time with the "Sewing Sisterhood". The Sisterhood meets twice a month, but due to work commitments Deb and I rarely attend the Thursday gathering. Today however, both of us were wonderfully, gloriously free and able to join the gals. Unlike Barb, Sue, Clare and Ann whom are all regulars but absent today for various reasons. We missed them but it is only 10 days to our next sewing day and I look forward to seeing them all then.

Our sewing days could never really be labelled industrious. There are always good intentions to be productive but things just seem to get in the way. You know how it is when friends gather - lots of chatter, many a laugh (sometimes to to point of tears) and if needed, a caring ear to confide in. It is this that makes the day so delightful and truly food for the soul.

Of course there is a little sewing! Merri has brought along her 'Civil War Bride' blocks to work on and Chris her 'Tribute to Mrs Williams'. Both are patterns from Threadbear in Castlemaine. Kerry looks like she has raided her pile of UFOs and is working on 19th Century Baskets, one of Di's beautiful reproduction designs. While Deb has started work on another one of those gorgeous Mary Mannakee blocks.

Julie has embraced hand-piecing and is stitching together one of many 8 pointed stars that are part of a new quilt that Di is designing. I am having a senior moment and can't remember the name that Di has christened it with. Julie is the first of the group to start this particular quilt and we all just love her choice of colour and fabric.

And me, well I have sewed the first stitches of Phebe. There is not a lot to look at yet, just the skeleton of vines for the centre applique medallion, but here is a photo of what I have completed so far anyway.

I know, I know, what about Di? What is she working on? Di was our host today and somehow seemed to spend all her time doing hostessy (is there such a word?) things. Well almost all of her time! As you can see this is a new blog and, as there are a few Luddites among the Sisterhood, Deb took some time out to show us all how to create posts and publish them. Di was the number one pupil.

The last task of the day was to take a photo of my completed DNQTTT quilt top. So, as promised, here it is!

If you are followers of Deb's blog, Needles, Sticks and Hooks, take a look at Merri's version in the Flickr Photostream. Same quilt but as you will see, it has a very different look.

I really have to / want to acknowledge Helen Hayes as it was her award-winning version of Homage to Sally Ann, Best of Show at Jeff's Shed in 2005 (I think) that inspired me with my colour choices and gave me the courage to use a red fabric for background.

So with the soul refreshed, it is time to finish up and say goodbye,
Until next time,

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A New Year and a New Quilt!

How else does a quilter begin a new year other than start a new project!

I have been working hard to finish "Deb's Not Quite Telling the Truth Applique Quilt (for beginners)" and sewed the final stitches last night so am now rewarding myself by starting "Phebe". Never mind that behind the cupboard door you will find any number of UFOs!

I have chosen one of the French General Rounneries range for the background and then spent a pleasant morning going through my stash and auditioning fabrics. What do you think?

Now the real the fun begins and I can't wait to start the centre medallion. But first all the preparation: tracing the design, cutting the templates and checking the colour placement.

Who knows how long it will take to finish but I promise to post regular progress reports.
Until next time,
PS. I will upload some photos of DNQTTT after our next sewing day. It is soooooooo big I cannot take any decent pictures without help.