Friday, 15 May 2015

Another holiday!

What's that saying about buses?  You wait for ages and then two come together?  Well, it's been a bit like that here with holidays.  Nothing for ages, then two long haul trips in quick succession.  This trip 
has been China, and was fabulous.  I don't want to bore anyone with holiday photos, but couldn't resist this one of me in seventh heaven surrounded by indigo printed fabrics!  We went to Wen Zhou which is a kind of Chinese Venice, in that it's built on water and has canals for streets, and there was a demonstration of resist printing on fabric (they used lime apparently) which was then steeped in indigo. 

There were loads of beautiful designs, and of course I succumbed to temptation while we were there. 

This fishy panel is about 18" square, and gorgeous. 
We got back late on Wednesday, and I'm beginning to get to terms with the jet lag.  Yesterday I even had a brief session at the sewing machine to finish off this delicate Mile a Minute quilt. 

It was an experiment in tone, using cream scraps versus pale scraps.  I think it's worked, and I used a variegated thread to quilt fans onto the pale triangles to add a little more colour.  Now to dive into something a bit more in your face!  

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Eight - final version!

I have been working on my panel with eight pictures quilt and have learned something useful.  I was very happy with the way the eight blocks were joined together to make a 3 x 5 arrangement, but it was in adding the borders to make it a bit squarer where I struggled.  Originally I had added a lilac border which was wider at the sides, to try and compensate.  When I started to add the piano keys border it didn't look right.  So with a little help from friends, Jacquie in particular, I evened out the inner border and added long piano keys along the sides, and small ones top and bottom.

That looks much better.  The balance of the central part is retained, and your eye doesn't realise the piano keys are different lengths, just that it looks right.  Result!

Monday, 20 April 2015


Why do manufacturers persist in making panels with eight images on them?  Eight is either too many or not enough to make a balanced quilt.  Nine is a good number, as that can be three blocks by three, or even five is OK as you can pad them out with plain blocks.  But eight! (Of course, I do actually know why they make these panels, as two rows of four images fill the fabric nicely.  I suppose the question is more, why do we buy them?!). So, along with most people, I have one of these panels, and decided to work out how to use it. 

Not a prize-winner, but the easy hourglass blocks have made these eight images into a fifteen, or five by three.  A bit long and narrow, but if I add a border on two sides, then a traditional border, I think it will work.

How about that?  I'll put a pink border round the whole thing, and get back. 

Friday, 3 April 2015

Holiday purchases

I We're back safe and sound from our wonderful holiday in Australia, and while I didn't manage to do very much sewing while we were away, I certainly made sure I bought some fabric souvenirs back with me!  I am doing a class in May which requires a fabric with a large design on it, so particularly looked out for that. 

I thought this filled the bill perfectly.  I need a solid to go with it, and will probably go for the cobalt blue or the turquoise.  And of course, I couldn't just bring the fabric I needed, but also bought some which I wanted! 

I wanted fabric which is difficult to get here, and have seen the (gorgeous) fabrics other people have brought, with kangaroos, koalas, ferns and exotic flowers etc on them, and seen how they struggled to use them, so thought I'd try a different direction.  I'm hoping these fabrics can be used in one project, but will also mix into my stash fairly well. I wanted Aboriginal designs as they are so iconic. 

This one is called 'Young Women's Business'.  The Aboriginies separate gender roles into men's and women's business, with each having equal weight.  The circles represent a place of significance, a meeting place, water source, food sorce etc, and the 'C' shapes are the mark a cross legged woman will make on the ground.  The larger C shapes with lines next to them are the women with their digging sticks having a meeting, and the other smaller Cs are the young women having a smaller meeting.  The lines represent journeys or routes.  I suppose the whole design has been stylised, but I like to think it's a message about the importance of a balanced society and their individual roles.  Wonder when I'll dare to cut it up! 

Thursday, 26 March 2015


We're currently on holiday and have been taking quite a few flights.  On the latest one we were lucky enough to get extra leg room, as we were in exit seats.  The only downside here is that you have to stow all your bags for take off, just in case there's a problem.  So, I took out my book, and something else to keep me occupied, and settled back to enjoy the flight. 
"I'm sorry madam, you can keep your book, but you'll have to put your knitting away."
Knitting?  Well here it is.

I know that people get a bit confused between different sewing categories, but I ask you - knitting!

And here is the fruits of my labour.  Not very knitted! 

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Mile a minute and cheddar

I continue to be fascinated by Mile a Minute - I think it's both for the colours and the fact that it makes something from (nearly) nothing!  Because I accept scraps from anyone, it's doubly interesting, as fabrics from other people's stashes are always a lot more interesting than from your own!  I am teaching a class on MAM later this year, so wanted to make up a few samples. 

I have made this design before, but still love it.  The star is from Victoria Finlay Wolfe's book '15 Minutes of Play' although the setting etc is mine.  The yellow is nice and gutsy and provides a good foil for the scrappiness.  Next I tried a different idea from Victoria's book.

This is a work in progress.  I love making these blocks too, and have been looking through my solids for possible X fabrics.  Not sure how this will go, but maybe a cascade of colours from top left - pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue purple - and then a MAM border.  We'll see.
And I have been keeping up with my Stars in a Time Warp blocks.  The latest fabric was cheddar.  I've never been exactly sure what colour cheddar fabric is, and now I find it's exactly the colour of the cheddar cheese in my fridge - yellow orange!  I couldn't believe that I had the correct colour in my stash, and was able to make the stars straightaway. 

The left hand one is my reproduction (looking more orange than in reality) and the right my modern one.  I love that purple and cheddar spot : why didn't I buy the bolt?! 

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Tula Pink

This morning there was some talk about Tula Pink and her book '100 Modern Quilt Blocks' and I remembered that I had a set of blocks waiting in my challenge group bag, waiting to be put together.  When I looked them out, I found these gorgeous blocks which Debbie made and generously donated to Project Linus.  Aren't they pretty?

(One of the reasons she donated them is that she had hand pieced them, and discovered they were all slightly different sizes!  Machine pieced blocks can be trimmed, but not hand pieced ones!  No problems.  I'll frame them all and trim the frames to the same size!)

And here are mine.  I had intended them to be for Linus in the first place, so used some child-friendly fabrics.  I have 36 blocks, which when sashed will make a great quilt.  Off to look for some pale blue fabric!