Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's a Beautiful Day!

So - to all of you who are here just for the quilting related topics - I apologise... but these are the only photos I have to show you at the moment! :)

Last night I went U2!!! They were amazing! well worth it!

the stage was unbelievable, complete with this fantastic movable HD screen that opened wide or slide into a narrow band...

they played a great mix of old and new songs and were on stage for nearly a full 2 hours

Bono was in fine form...
Anyway - for any of you who get an opportunity to go - you really should! It was absolutely a worthwhile experience

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Inspiration leads to..... Frustration?

Like many of you, I have become a big reader of blogs. What I love more than anything is stumbling across things that I would otherwise never have seen, especially when those things lead to a creative revelation :)

This post I would like to share with you two quilts that I have inspired me.

I will start with a very recent (as in yesterday recent) discovery. Amy's Creative Side occasionally has featured bloggers, and the featured blog yesterday was called Cut To Pieces which I soon discovered is a completely adorable blog. Beautifully designed and full of things that will make you happy just looking at them!

So, this brings me to the first quilt in question... it was part of the featured blogger post on Amy's Creative Side, but I was so struck by it, that I had to know more and went looking on Cut to Pieces to find out all about it.

Here it is (reproduced with Angela's permission)- it's called "Where Bluebirds Fly" and it is one of my favourite quilts EVER.

There are so many things that I love about this quilt - so I'm just going to run through a couple of them.

I love the references to The Wizard of Oz - it's one of my all time favourite movies - and the little nods (i.e. the rainbow, the tornado, the change from black and white to colour)

I love all the hidden little characters in the quilt like the dwarfs, mermaids, castle peep, unicorn. I love the NOT so hidden characters too especially the witches!

I love the balance in the design of the quilt.

I love the quilting on this quilt - once again the tornado, the sky, the water... all of it! :)

I LOVE the design concept - the muted side (with a glimmer of the rainbow) compared with the bright coloured side. It has sparked in my head a design idea for a 3 panel quilt, using a similar black/white, coloured design.

Most of all what I love about this quilt is Angela (the quilt maker's) explanation about why she made this quilt, and what it meant to her... you should ABSOLUTELY go and read about it on her blog.

The second quilt I would like to share with you is called "Sandstorm Over the White Desert" by an Australian quilt maker by the name of Jenny Bowker. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Jenny's work, you really are missing out. I have to admit that a quilt by Jenny is one of the reasons why I took up quilting in the first place.

Jenny has been working on the most fantastic series of quilts based on people that she met in Egypt while her husband was working there. I believe this is the most recent in the series.

Here is Sandstorm Over the White Desert (reproduced with Jenny's permission)

I have long admired Jenny's works, but this quilt really took my breath away. To give you and idea of the size of this quilt, I was at a quilt show earlier this year and as I walked between the rows, a man standing at the end of the row caught the corner of my eye and I did a double take. It wasn't actually a man, it was this quilt, hanging at the end of the row. When you stand looking at the quilt, he is basically life sized and the way the quilt was hung meant that you were looking at him in the eye.

This quilt has the most tremendous detail in it, from the pieced sky (with the sand storm rolling across) to the amazing sand stone (?) rocks in the background, to the detailing in the face and clothing of the figure and finally the quilting across the surface that provides so much depth. It really is breathtaking. For those who are interested in how this all came about, there is a post on Jenny's blog Postcards from Cairo that shows how she came up with this creation.

I should mention (again) that this is one in series of quilts, you should really go and look at more of them here. I am always so inspired by seeing the pictorial quilts that Jenny makes.

So now we get to the frustration part. I can see my quilt design in my head (actually if I'm honest I can see a number of quilt designs in my head) but I just don't seem to be able to get the design from my head to a quilt. I find it really frustrating. I always start by trying to transfer what's in my head onto paper, but even that's not such a sure thing!

That said, I do know that my quilting skills have improved since my early days, there are definitely things that I can do now, that I couldn't do last year and so on. So, while I wait for my skills to catch up with my imagination, I remain thankful for the quilters, quilts, artists, fabric designers and the world around me for their inspiration.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

oh Christmas tree....

Well, this post has been a while coming, the tree has been up for a while but I've been busy having a cold, and trying to get other things done before Christmas comes around.

It's quite tall (7 feet high) but there's always more than enough decorations :)

My Mum refers to the colour scheme as "bollywood" -which is probably accurate enough - but I don't mind! Pinks, purples and reds are my favourite colours - so why shouldn't I use them on the tree?
For a while I had somehow only managed to collect round baubles, with not many "other' shapes, but I've worked at changing that - so now I have stars and little tinsel sprays

and angels...
For the most part I like to tie the decorations onto the tree using ribbons in a variety of colours, I find that it adds a secondary design type feature - which I really enjoy.
We also have a wreath on the door, golden glittery poinsettas and of course the adorable Rudy, Ruby and Roby Dear from last weeks post.
How is everyone else going with their Christmas decorations?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Introducing the Dears

This week over at Amy's Creative Side Amy was having a One Week, One Project Challenge - to name (last Monday) and finish in a week (today) ONE Project, and I'm very happy to say that I met my challenge!

This is a pattern by "Melly and Me" which I fell in love with sometime ago and the fabric is "12 Days of Christmas" by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics (which I LOVE!).

Please meet Rudy - the star of the pattern and the family patriach (he's the big guy of the family)
Next up we have Ruby - Mum of the clan

and finally - Roby (pronounced Robbie)... he's the teeny tiny man of the house - and I'm sure he'll get up to all sorts of trouble!

and here they are in their first family portrait
At the beginning of the week I had a bundle of legs and bodies and antlers and ears - so this week I have stuffed all the limbs and bodies, hand stitched closed all the holes, attached the legs to the body, hand stitched the ears, antlers, bow, eyes and noses to the bodies. Phew! I think that would explain why I have a nice callous developing on my middle finger!
In that first photo you get a sneak preview of our Christmas tree - which we put up last week... and I will blog about later :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fa la la la FIXED!

Until recently "my" sewing machine was actually my Mum's. It was a 19 year old Husqvarna that had a great straight stitch and a good zig zag.... and... well.... that was about it! But Mum wasn't using it, so it was essentially "mine"..

When Mum retired she decided that she needed the sewing machine back, so I was faced with the prospect of not having a machine at all, which was just not going to be an acceptable solution! :)

I did a whole bunch of research and time and time again heard how good the Bernina 440 was, so I decided to make an investment and bought myself one! Ever since I got it home, I've had a thread tension problem with it. The front stitching would look great

But the thread tension on the back was all over the place. I could tell that it was clearly the tension on the top thread that was the problem, but no matter what I did I couldn't get it to stop looping. I read the instruction book (over and over) and I watched the DVD, but I still couldn't get it to stop!

I finally found time to go back to the shop I bought the machine from, and they were wonderful! It wasn't just the way that I was threading the machine! One of the tension plates was too tight and they fixed it right there on the spot.

The owner of the shop commented how happy he was that I'd brought it back so that they had a chance to ensure that I had a good experience. They gave me needles and bobbins to apologise for me having to bring the machine back in. I was very happy with the service and I went home and got right down to sewing :) Here is a sneak preview of a couple of little somethings that I will show you when I finish them!

The Fa la la la of this post comes from a great new book that just arrived in the mail! It's called "Fa La La La Felt" by Amanda Carestio. It's a really adorable book of Christmas decorations all made in felt.

I should probably mention at this point that I love Christmas as in I. REALLY. LOVE. CHRISTMAS!!! The book is fanatastic - lots of great ideas for decorations for the tree

In different sizes and shapes too

It's got some really lovely ideas for decorating too... I really like the look of this "no sew" wreath
I think that the best thing about the book is that you could just as easily do them by hand or by machine and you could definitely do lots of the projects in normal quilters cottons too. You should all go and have a look at it!
Finally - a big thank you to my big sister who gave me the voucher with which allowed Fa La La La Felt to come to my house!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Squishie Squashie Packages

I love squishie packages.. don't you??

With the Australian dollar doing so well against the US, it's been hard to resist doing a little bit of online shopping... I've been collecting fabrics for an aqua and red quilt - the colour scheme is all over the place at the moment and I just love it! Can't decide what I'm going to do with them, but it's never too early to collect!

These ones are all from one range - "Bliss" by Bonnie and Camille for Moda Fabrics - just perfect for the colour scheme.
These ones turned out to be a little more blue and red than aqua and red - but that's ok! I'm sure I will find a use for them!

Some time ago I got a great pair of Keds - I call them my "Tailfeathers" - they were designed by Tula Pink (who used to design for Moda - but whose new collection will be released by Free Spirit)... but I didn't have any of the fabric - UNTIL NOW! This is from Plume for Moda and is kinda hard to find these days... but it's just gorgeous! I also got a layer cake - I'm trying to decide what to make with them.
I couldn't finish this post without a shot of my assistant for these photos

Monday, November 1, 2010

Candied Hexagons continued....

Hi all,
As many of you know there is something of a groundswell in Australia at the moment for a quilt called "Candied Hexagons".

I've been working on mine for just under a year now, and I'm quite pleased to give you a progress report. So far I have sewn 74 hexagons out of a total of 104 (in case anyone is counting, there are only 73 in the pile, but I finished another hexagon after I took these photos).

I really love this photo - on the left is the hexagons that I've sewn, and on the right are the "cheat" hexagons - that is the ones that are made of a single fabric (the feature floral). All you really need to do is baste them, that's why I can't help but think of them as the "cheater" blocks!

This is my favourite block to sew, which I was very surprised about - but I love the way the pieces all fit together like a puzzle. The original quilt (by Kerry Dear) was actually sewn by machine, but I was looking for a hand sewing project. A number of the women at my quilting group were doing it by hand, so I decided to give it a go. I know in myself that I don't have the discipline to sew a whole quilt with only the sem allowances marked - so I'm paper piecing it.

I've never paper pieced (or hand pieced for that matter!) before, so I did a lot of reading online first (there are a couple of really great bloggers who had step-by-step photos!) and then sewed one block, and trapsed off to the quilting group the next month to check that I'd done it properly!!

Since then I've just been sewing away - matching colours as I went along. I also asked some loved ones to choose a block design and colours for me - so there will always be a block designed by my Mum, a block designed by my sister, a block designed by Sir Pinkying... it's kind of nice to feel like I'm sewing my "family" into the quilt!
Because I'm starting to get close to "the end" of making the blocks, I put aside randomness for a while to make up the "sets" of blocks that are featured in the original pattern. These are ones like the three blocks above where the positioning of the fabrics and the designs of the blocks create a secondary pattern. LOVE them!
I already know that I want to do another hand project when I've finished this one - but I will FINISH this first!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where have I been?

Hi all,

Once again, despite my best intentions, it has been far too long between posts... and where have I been you ask? Well, we've been away we went here:

we also saw a bit of this

spent a couple of days driving through scenery not unlike this...
enjoyed a lovely boat trip through here

and were constantly in awe of natural wonders like this

so, has anyone guessed where Sir Pinkying (he's not Mr Pinkying - but he's my knight in shining armour!) and I have been??

We went to New Zealand! All I can say is if you have never been, you really must go. We loved every single second of the trip. So many photos, so little time!

I did pick up a small bundle of Maori styled fabrics, which I will post a pic of soon.

While we were away, I had intended to sew 15 blocks for my Candied Hexagons, which I had cut out in preparation for the trip, but I only got as far as doing the basting! I have made some progress though (which I will post later too!!)

Happy Quilting!

Monday, June 28, 2010


So, I've been sadly absent from this blog for far too long. A combination of work, quilting and life in general has gotten in the way... not that quilting EVER gets in the way! :)
On the bright side, I've had two short trips out of town in the last 4 weeks, which has certainly made a difference!

I also managed to finish a quilt, and in time for the deadline, which was my boyfriend's birthday. I've never gifted a quilt this size before, so it's quite exciting (especially as I finished it in time!)

I haven't had a chance to get an "approved" photo of the Birthday Boy and his present, so these photos will have to satisfy for a while...
....... presenting "Paradiddles"

Popular Posts